Routt County children celebrate receiving 1st dose of vaccine |

Routt County children celebrate receiving 1st dose of vaccine

Evan Carbone, 10, was relieved to receive his first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at a clinic hosted by the Routt County Department of Public Health. l Alison Berg/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Amelia Mannen has two words of advice for children receiving their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine: “Just breathe.”

Amelia, age 9 and a student at Strawberry Park Elementary School, received her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine Saturday at a clinic hosted by the Routt County Public Health Department. While she knew she wanted the shot so she could return to a normal life, Amelia cried before receiving it out of nervousness.

But afterwards, Amelia, her 11-year-old sister and their mother Nadeen Mannen all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

“It had a little bit of sting, but it wasn’t that bad,” Amelia said, adding that other kids should not be afraid of the shot, as “it’s over fast.”

The Mannen family said they felt as if COVID-19 was lasting forever, causing them to miss out on social events and to cycle in and out of repetitive quarantines due to exposure at school.

“A lot of times plans get canceled, and when you’re in quarantine, you can’t do as much stuff,” Amelia said. “Sometimes, instead of just going to a friend’s house, you have to call them.”

The Mannens were two of 206 kids to receive their first doses of the vaccine in Steamboat Springs on Saturday, with 80 in Hayden and 40 in South Routt doing the same.

“This is a historic moment for sure,” said Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith. “It’s just incredible.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 and older earlier this week. Nationally, nearly 1 million kids had received their first doses by Wednesday, CNN reported. In Routt County, Smith said she hopes that 75% of children whose parents are vaccinated receive at least their first dose by the end of the year.

“The more kids that we can get vaccinated, the more we can decrease our transmission to families and other vulnerable populations,” Smith said. “Just being able to broaden our scope of who we can protect with the vaccine is going to make a huge difference, not only in Routt County, but across our state.”

While children are not as vulnerable to serious COVID-19 side effects as other age groups, Dr. Rosanne Iverson with Steamboat Springs Family Medicine said they can still transmit the virus easily to others, and the virus can mutate and create other variants while infecting a child.

“The virus is a living being, and it seeks out those that are not vaccinated, regardless of their age,” Iverson said. “We want to move on; we want it to end with delta. We don’t want a new variant that is going to set us back again.”

Iverson said the vaccine has “unfortunately become politicized,” but objective facts show that it is safe and effective.

“Really, if you take the politics out of it, and you look at what’s best for your child, your family and your community, it’s hard to say that what’s best is to not vaccinate,” Iverson said. “The more of us that get vaccinated, the more we can be functioning at a normal rate.”

Jamie Carbone, a nurse who has eagerly awaited the CDC’s announcement, was ecstatic after her 10-year-old son Evan received his first dose Saturday.

Evan said he felt he had missed out on a year of a normal social life due to COVID-19. Despite avoiding the public whenever possible and wearing a mask when he had to be in public, Evan still caught COVID-19. While he did not have serious side effects, Evan said he would still much rather take the vaccine than risk catching COVID-19, again.

“Evan has been waiting to get back to normal life,” Jamie Carbone said. “It’s been nerve wracking.”

Routt County Public Health will continue holding vaccine clinics, and pharmacies and private medical providers across the county are also offering the vaccine to children. For more information, visit

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