Eligible people under age 18 urged to get Pfizer vaccine while local supply lasts

The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech is currently the only vaccine available to people age 16 and 17, and the supply is quickly dwindling. The Malheur County Health Department last week reached out to local school officials to encourage them to share information about availability of the vaccine with their students.

Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is available only at Walgreens in Ontario. At last count, the supply was about 180 total doses, enough to fully vaccinate 90 people. MCHD Director Sarah Poe said it’s a priority to get as many 16- and 17-year-olds vaccinated there as possible, while there are several other providers in the county with vaccine for people who are 18 and older.

“When we see a surge of illness in young people, it inevitably ripples out. Cases of COVID-19 in our youth impacts our older residents. Vaccinating this population will have significant benefits to classrooms, sports and other extracurricular activities, and the community,” Poe said.

Starting April 19, all Oregonians age 16+ will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 16- and 17-year-olds are eligible if they:

  • Have an underlying health condition from the CDC list, available on page 3 in English and Spanish
  • Live in multi-generational housing of 3 or more generations
  • Provide health care or childcare to anyone, even unpaid
  • Have a frontline job (even in summers only), including agriculture and food processing

To get a Pfizer vaccine at Walgreens, call the store at 541-889-6288 and speak to someone in the pharmacy. Do not follow the prompts for the vaccine scheduler. It is currently not scheduling appointments, but pharmacy staff will assist people in getting scheduled. The online scheduler is expected to be up later this week. Here is the link.

Walgreens and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario are the only two vaccine providers in Malheur County that have received the Pfizer vaccine. Due to the large size of a single tray – 975 doses – and the availability of other vaccines, Pfizer may not be immediately available in Malheur County once the current supply is diminished.

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