Thanks to efforts and coordination by Bend-La Pine Schools’ leadership and local health care providers, dozens of free COVID-19 vaccination opportunities will be available for Central Oregonians age 5-11, starting Monday, Nov. 8 throughout Deschutes County. A dashboard with local clinic dates and times was launched after the announcement from the CDC and FDA of the authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 5-11.
NOTE: Vaccine opportunities are dependent upon state supply of vaccines and could be subject to change.
“I continue to be impressed by our local medical community and their willingness to step up and create opportunities to help during this pandemic. I believe by offering so many local vaccine opportunities, families will have a wide range of options that fit their location and timing needs for their young students,” said Dr. Steven Cook, Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools. “Vaccinating this key youth demographic is one more step in helping make our community safer, keeping our schools open for in-person instruction, and putting an end to the pandemic.”
Like their older counterparts, youth in classrooms who do not have symptoms, and are masked and fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if deemed a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual – keeping fully vaccinated students at school and participating in athletics, arts, and other enrichment activities.
Some of the local health care providers offering vaccination opportunities for the community include: Mosaic Pediatrics, local school-based health centers, Central Oregon Pediatrics Associates, Summit Pediatrics, St. Charles Health System, and La Pine Community Health Center.
“If your child is comfortable and familiar with a local health care provider, a good place to start is to reach out to that provider to make a vaccine appointment or to stop by your school-based health center,” said Tamarra Harris, Pediatric Program Manager, Mosaic Medical.
She noted that many local pediatricians and other clinics are offering vaccines for patients. “Now that every school-aged child can be vaccinated against COVID-19, we are excited to bring a sense of relief to many parents and guardians, and those who work in education and child care.”
Harris noted that local pediatricians and health care providers hope to vaccinate as many as 19,500 eligible Deschutes County youth during the outreach efforts.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and insurance is not required. Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Families are encouraged to learn more about vaccines through trusted sources such as the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, or their doctor.
About the COVID-19 Approval Process for Youth Ages 5-11
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for 5- through 11-year-olds on Oct. 26 after a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee review that found it safe and effective for this age group.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 14-0 to recommend the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5- through 11-year-olds on Nov. 1.
On Nov. 2, the CDC’s director endorsed the ACIP decision. Additionally, on Nov. 2, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, composed of health experts in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada endorsed the ACIP decision.
On Nov. 3., Oregon state health officials issued standing orders that will allow providers to begin administering vaccinations to children 5 years and older as soon as supplies become available.