They came for stickers. They came for peace of mind. They came for vaccines.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, marked the first in a series of Clackamas County-hosted vaccine clinics for children ages 5 to 11 since the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab became available to the younger age set.
The clinic was held at a former clothing store in the Clackamas Town Center mall.
All 100 vaccine appointments filled up fast, the county says, with eager parents ready to get their kids back to group sports, riding the bus and other activities they’ve worried about since the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Clackamas County Public Health Director Philip Mason-Joyner said the benefit of vaccinating young children not only “protects kids from Covid, it also reduces the spread to more vulnerable household members.”
One of the major benefits is that students who are fully vaccinated don’t need to quarantine from school due to possible exposure.
“This is a great step because it keeps kids in school,” Mason-Joyner said.
County staff spent hours dusting, mopping and steam-cleaning the carpet to make the impromptu clinic location ready for the youngest vaccine recipients. A bank of fitting rooms made for handy vaccination stations, allowing for both privacy and social distance from other recipients.
A waiting area was outfitted with crayons and coloring books in English and Spanish, Star Wars stickers, backpacks and “lots of encouragement” from staff to help calm youngsters’ nerves.
The county says demand for the vaccine is high, and parents and guardians will need to be patient as they work to bring vaccine clinics to all school districts in the county.
While there will be more free clinics as vaccine supply and staffing allow, parents and guardians are encouraged to seek out appointments at their health clinics and pharmacies first.
Pfizer pediatric vaccine appointments are available at all regular clinics across the county for children ages 5 to 11. Appointments are required, and getting one may take a few weeks due to demand.
More information on the vaccine is available at clackamas.us/coronavirus/vaccine, or from your primary care provider or pediatrician.
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