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Pediatric providers prepare to vaccinate Oregon's youngest against COVID-19

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
With the CDC's authorization, 17 million American babies, and toddlers are now eligible to receive pediatric doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children under five—pediatric providers are preparing for the initial wave of tiny patients to get their first shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the vaccination for littles, 6 months to 4-years old, on Saturday.

Serena Black is a pediatrician and medical director for the PeaceHealth Children’s Service Line at RiverBend Medical Center in Springfield. She said established PeaceHealth Oregon patients will be able to make appointments for designated vaccine days soon. It’s important to note that PeaceHealth clinics don’t have pediatric doses on hand, yet.

“It’s still pretty early,” Black said.” We were able to pre-order though- so we’re doing everything we can to be prepared as soon as possible for people who are eager to get the vaccine for their children.”

PeaceHealth Oregon
Serena Black, MD is a pediatrician with PeaceHealth Oregon and mother of two young kids.

PeaceHealth Oregon plans to vaccinate several hundred patients in the first few weeks after vaccine supplies arrive. Vaccination will be ongoing as clinics receive additional orders of vaccine. Black said they have pre-ordered the pediatric Pfizer brand which is a three-dose series and expect the initial batches to arrive perhaps by the end of the week.

Patients of other medical practices are recommended to go through their pediatrician or primary physician to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pediatric doses are smaller. Two brands have been approved for the new age group. Pfizer is a three-dose series and Moderna is two doses. Safety protocols will be the same as with other age groups, including a post vaccine observation period while watching for anaphylactic reactions.

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Unsplash courtesy of Jessica Podraza
Now everyone in the U.S. who is 6 months and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Black, a mother of two young children, said she is “thrilled” to begin offering vaccines to the youngest in our communities. She said they've worked on the backend to make sure they have the electronic medical records and staff to run their clinic spaces.

“As you can imagine the children in the 6 months to 4-year age range, it’s really important to give the vaccine in as comfortable an environment as possible,” Black said. “Often one where the parents can be involved in helping to calm or soothe the child.”

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.