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Kid COVID-19 shots arrive in Jackson County

AP/file photo A child receives a COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccine now available for ages 5-11

Jackson County Public Health announced Tuesday evening that local COVID-19 vaccine providers have begun to receive doses made for kids ages 5-11.

The vaccine recently approved for that age group contains one-third the dose given to people 12 and older, but research shows it’s almost 91% effective at preventing COVID-19 in young children.

Parents and guardians can reach out to their pediatrician, primary care provider or pharmacist to ask whether they will have the vaccine and when they will begin scheduling appointments.

Not all providers will have the child vaccine, and some may not be immediately ready to start giving shots, Jackson County Public Health said.

Jackson County Public Health is among the providers offering the vaccine for youth age 5-11. Parents and guardians can call 541-774-8209 to make an appointment.

Due to increased call volume, Jackson County Public Health may not be able to answer calls right away.

“We are encouraged by how eager parents and guardians are to get their children vaccinated. Still, we ask that parents and guardians be patient with us as we provide the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” Jackson County Public Health said in a press release.

Jackson County Public Health continues to work with other COVID-19 vaccine providers to increase the availability of the pediatric dose. Approved COVID-19 vaccine providers ordered directly from the Oregon Health Authority or put in a request to the Asante Pfizer Hub or Jackson County Public Health.

In addition to COVID-19 shots for children 5-11 and people 12 and older, Jackson County Public Health has flu shots plus immunizations for other infectious diseases.

Jackson County Public Health is located at 140 S. Holly St. in Medford. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with a closure from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. The department is closed on government-observed holidays.

Jackson County health officials said while COVID-19 tends to be milder in children compared to adults, kids can still get very sick, be hospitalized, suffer short- and long-term health effects and suffer complications that lead to death.

Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of severe illness. Any child who gets infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can develop serious complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome — a condition in whiuch different body parts become inflamed, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or digestive organs.

Children can spread the virus to others. Vaccinating youth can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and vulnerable family members who are at increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Vaccination also helps slow the spread of the virus in the community, health officials said.

“Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help keep them in school and help them safely participate in sports, playdates and other group activities,” Jackson County Public Health said.

Josephine County Public Health announced Wednesday it had received all the pediatric doses of COVID-19 vaccine it requested and was distributing them to local providers over the next few days.

Josephine County parents and guardians can call their medical provider, pharmacy or the Josephine County Public Health COVID-19 call center at 541-916-7030 to make an appointment for children ages 5-11. Health officials in Josephine County are asking parents and guardians to be patient as medical providers create appointments to administer vaccines.

That call center number can also be used to ask questions about vaccines, schedule a COVID-19 test or schedule a vaccination appointment for other ages.

Pediatric and adult vaccines are available every Wednesday at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, located at 1451 Fairgrounds Road in Grants Pass, from noon to 6 p.m. The clinic is expected to continue until the end of the year or longer if the need continues into 2022. The vaccines are always free.

Visit co.josephine.or.us/COVID19 to schedule a vaccine appointment.

For answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11 and youth ages 12-17, visit govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-vaccine-parents-guardians.