Kade Watts, 2, here in his mother Katie’s arms, receives his first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from James Lamie of York Beach Fire Department at the York County Vaccine Center June 23. Watts, of Gorham, was ready to get her children vaccinated and made the drive to Sanford.  Tammy Wells Photo

SANFORD — Ryan Krupp brought her son Sawyer, 1, to the York County Emergency Management Agency COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Sanford a week ago, to make sure he got his shot as soon as possible.

“I wanted Moderna,” the Bridgton mother said on Thursday, June 23, just a few days after the U.S. CDC approved COVID vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old. Krupp called around and found that pharmacies near her were providing the vaccines only for children 3 and older. “I heard about this clinic last night,” she said, and made the trip to Sanford the following day.

Thursday, June 23, was day two of the clinic providing vaccines for those in the 6 month to 5-year-old category. Staffers dispensed 75 doses on Tuesday, June 21, and by the end of the day Thursday, June 23, 116 more, plus 90 more on Saturday,June 25.

It was a good start in the quest to vaccinate Maine’s youngest children, clinic officials said.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah stopped by the York County Vaccine Clinic on Thursday, June 23, to greet staff and families like Bridget Cronin of Falmouth, whose son Jack, 3, got his first COVID-19 vaccine that day. Tammy Wells Photo

Parents from across York County and many from outside the county’s borders are bringing their children to the clinic, which also dispenses doses for older children, adults, and booster shots for those eligible.

Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah recently paid a visit to the clinic, the only mass vaccine site in southern Maine.


Shah visited with clinic staff.

“I’m here to support them and thank them,”  he said. He was also at the clinic, located at the Center for Shopping, 1364 Main St., to chat with families.

He pointed out that COVD-19 vaccines were first dispensed in Maine in December 2020.

“Now, in June 2022, the youngest kids in the state are now eligible,” he said. “This is particularly important for parents, who have been waiting months and months.”

It is a toss-up on who is happier, young Sawyer Krupp, 1, or his mother, Ryan Krupp, who brought her son down from Bridgton to get his first COVID-19 vaccination at York County Vaccine Center in Sanford a week ago. The clinic is open 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays at the Center for Shopping, 1364 Main St., Sanford. Tammy Wells Photo

YCEMA Deputy Director Megan Arsenault said steps have been taken to make the clinic comfortable for the young vaccine recipients, offering a coloring station, some cool videos — Disney is a favorite — and every youngster who wants one (and most do) gets a stuffed animal to take home. There is a nursing station for moms.

With the vaccines for very young children, parents, like Katie Watts of Gorham, get peace of mind. She said she had kept her children Kali, 4 and Kade, 2, home from daycare to keep them safe from COVID-19.


“I wanted to get them vaccinated as soon as possible and my pediatrician wasn’t taking appointments,” she said. “I saw an article about this clinic.”

After reading about the vaccines, Watts decided she wanted her children to get the Pfizer vaccine even though it is a three-dose regimen rather than Moderna, which is two doses, and the first were dispensed. Kali was a bit skeptical but did fine, and Kade aced it. Both got cool bandages.

Shah last week said there is plenty of vaccine available.

“People are traveling long distances to get their kids vaccinated,” said YCEMA Director Art Cleaves on Monday. People have been bringing their children for vaccines from as far away as Bucksport, Waterville and beyond.

Bridget Cronin, from Falmouth, brought her son Jack, 3, for his first vaccine on June 23. Her 7-week-old was in a stroller.

“This has been stressful,” she said, trying to keep both of her children safe from COVID-19. “I can’t express my gratitude enough.”

The clinic is open 1 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays; visits are drop-in only.

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