NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many city parents were breathing a big sigh of relief Tuesday as thousands of kids started getting their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As CBS2’s John Dias reported, vaccine sites are popping up at schools across the city to administer them. It was a plan already in place before the new variant, Omicron, began to spread.

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Visit schools.nyc.gov/covid19 to see when and where the shots will be offered.

COVID VACCINE

When the Delta variant first hit, kids in New York City weren’t eligible for the vaccine, but many parents Dias spoke to said now that they are, they feel reassured that kids will be better protected when Omicron arrives and quickly spreads.

“It felt pretty good,” 8-year-old Eddie Nash said after getting his second shot.

Nash had the Band-Aid to prove it.

“I’m probably COVID-free right now,” Nash said.

His two 5-year-old brothers got the shot as well.

“First, I was nervous. Then, I was happy,” Leo Nash said.

And their dad was overwhelmingly relieved, since Omicron is expected to be detected in the city any time now, and is thought to be highly transmissible.

“Whether there was this variant or another variant around, I was going to do it. This just reinforces my decision,” Patrick Nash said. “It’s a lot more enjoyable. You’re not questioning yourself when you go somewhere.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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Mobile vans and pop-up clinics arrived back at select city public schools Tuesday to administer the second doses of the Pfizer shot to kids 5-11 years old.

Many parents said it happened just in time to beat back the new variant.

“Hopefully, it’ll come and go, versus ravaging everybody like Delta did,” said Robin Jaffey of Gramercy Park.

The rollout of the initial shots at schools a few weeks ago was bumpy, with many long lines and, sometimes, not enough supply. But on Tuesday, parents and kids said it was much smoother, and many came away optimistic.

“Now that I’m getting it, that’s one more person in the world who is fully vaxxed,” fifth grader Sofie Michelle said.

For support, 11-year-old Ethan D’Fouza had his twin sister by his side, as they both got the shot.

“She’ll make me feel good and I’ll make her feel good,” he said.

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A Department of Education spokesperson said, “Our schools are among the safest places to be during this pandemic due to our extensive, multi-layered approach to health and safety.”

As it stands, nearly 45% of New York City kids age 5-17 have at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. The same goes for 88.5% of adults.

“This is how we stop things like this from evolving, from mutating. We keep kids and adults vaccinated, so that we put an end to this,” said Lee Guzofski of Gramercy Park.

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And as a reminder, you’re fully vaccinated two weeks after the second shot. So, kids getting the shot Tuesday will be protected right in time for Christmas.

John Dias