For at-risk youth, the COVID-19 vaccine is more than ‘just a shot’; it’s a dose of freedom

Hasbro Children's Hospital is teaming up with Lifespan to vaccinate young adults, against COVID-19, with underlying health conditions.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Lifespan and Hasbro Children’s Hospital have teamed up to host a number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics through early May, to get immediate shots in the arms of young adults 16 and older, in Rhode Island, in with underlying health conditions.

For so many, especially at-risk adolescents, this vaccine is more than ‘just a shot’. And 17-year-old Kyle Burgos will be the first to tell you just that.

The Providence teen is battling a form of Lymphoma. Kyle was one of those who received his first vaccine this weekend at through the clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Burgos was diagnosed with a form of Lymphoma in 2019. After months of chemotherapy, his doctors told him he was in remission. But then months later, the pandemic hit- and his cancer came back.

“Sadly, due to this cancer I couldn’t do a lot of things and right when I felt like I was sort of going to go back to normal, we were hit with the pandemic,” Burgos told ABC6.

The usually lighthearted teen says this led him to months of isolation from family and friends where he was consumed by utter worry for his health.

“I missed out on a lot of social events. It hurts, you know, I’m young, I crave social interaction,” Burgos says.

So when he rolled his sleeve up to get the first dose of the Pfizer shot on Saturday- it was a complete sense of relief and happiness. Kyle says everyone at the clinic was just as elated as he was.

Dr. Rishi Lulla, the chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Hasbro Children’s Hospital says seeing more and more young adults get vaccinated against COVID-19 each week is a relief for everyone.

Each clinic, the team has the capacity to vaccinate about 100-120 young adults. Appointments must be made ahead of time.

“We know that this group is at high-risk of getting covid 19 if they are infected so that is the exact reason why we wanted to give them the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” Lulla tells ABC-6.

Eligible patients include adolescents and those 16 and older with one underlying health condition. Specifically in Rhode Island, conditions include diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic kidney disease, Down Syndrome, heart disease, lung diseases, sickle cell disease, and a weakened immune system.

Kyle’s message to those in similar situations is to remain patient and hopeful for better times ahead. Burgos adds, he can’t wait for the day when everyone can get their shot, too.

If you or your child are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, call (401)-475-SHOT (7468) to schedule your appointment.


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