Oregon counties prepare to roll out COVID-19 vaccine for children

EUGENE, Oregon — The vaccine for children is going through the approval process at the federal level, and Oregonians could see injections for younger children as early as next week.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are meeting this week. If the vaccine is approved there, the next step is to get approval from the Oregon Health Authority.

RELATED: FDA Approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

Lane County Public Health is poised to roll out vaccines once they receive full federal and state approval. They offer a number of clinics, including at the Lane Events Center. Covid-19 incident commander Steve Adams said the key has been working with local health care providers to get shots across the county.

“We’ve been meeting with all of our pediatricians, our pharmacies and primary care practices for weeks now,” Adams says.

And other provinces are also preparing for vaccines. Todd Noble, health administrator for Linn County Public Health, said officials have paid close attention to preparing children.

“The mass vaccination settings are probably not the most conducive, especially for the younger children,” Noble said. “Because they’re young kids, I think the main focus will be on (pediatric) departments, primary care where families and kids know their doctors.”

RELATED: ‘It’s a big problem’: Parents react after FDA recommends vaccine for children aged 5 to 11

The same goes for Benton County. Cynthia D’Angiolllio, the immunization coordinator for the county’s health department, said it’s critical to rely on infrastructure for their county.

“We rely on our infrastructure and our concerted efforts to vaccinate as we have done with the other age groups,” D’Angiolllio said.

Serena Black, the medical director for pediatric services at PeaceHealth, told KEZI 9 News that helping children feel comfortable is the most important part of getting them vaccinated.

“It’s very much meant for kids to come to their own pediatric practices, primary care practices,” Black said. “Receiving the vaccine in those spaces where we can talk to families if they have questions and where we can provide them with really comprehensive care.”

Equality is also a big part of Lane County health officials’ goals to get the community vaccinated. Adams said it is essential to vaccinate disabled children and children of color.

“We’re working with community organizations to design and deliver clinics as well, to ensure we deliver vaccine equity across the country,” Adams said.

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