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SAN DIEGO — A man’s best friend has helped hundreds of children during their first dose of the COVID vaccine at Rady Children’s Hospital this week.

Melanie Jacobson, a volunteer with Rady Children’s Canine Program, volunteers her golden doodle Lucy to help bring joy to the children at the hospital.

“Lucy has been coming here for the last three years, since she was three years old and she just turned six. We come twice a month to come visit all the kids in the units,” Jacobson said.

Since the rollout on Tuesday, Rady Children’s has given out over 1,500 shots. The approval for the COVID vaccine for children under five has kept the nurses at the COVID vaccine clinic busy and Lucy has been able to give kids and the nurses a nice distraction.

“She is a really good distraction, especially with her costume. They think she is cute, they pet her, they look at her and often times, they don’t even realize they had just gotten a shot,” Jacobson said.

The approval is a long time coming for those eager to vaccinate their children against the coronavirus.

“There is a lot of relief, a lot of excitement, some parents very emotional,” said Blanca Montano, nurse at Rady Children’s hospital.

Montano, a NICU nurse by trade, has overseen the COVID vaccine clinic since they first become available almost two years ago.

“Some shed a tear here and there because they can finally vaccinate their youngest family member,” Montano said.

The vaccine clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. An appointment is recommended but walk-ins are welcome.

For more information on the clinic, visit Rady Children’s Hospital website.