FDA, CDC, authorize pediatric COVID-19 doses

Monday, Nov. 1, the FDA authorized use of pediatric doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. That decision was confirmed by a unanimous CDC panel on Tuesday, and again Tuesday evening by the Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup, which confirmed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for young children. Children ages 5 and older should be vaccinated against COVID-19, but may still have to wait a few days, as shipments of pediatric doses have not yet arrived in Malheur County. In a meeting today, Oregon Health Authority officials reported that the doses should arrive early next week, in time for the next walk-in vaccine clinic at the Malheur County Health Department on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 1-6 p.m.

Vaccines may also be available at your healthcare provider or pharmacy. We recommend calling first to ensure they have the vaccine in stock and ask if an appointment is needed. Find the list of vaccine providers in the county at malheurhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine. Additionally, vaccine clinics are scheduled at Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 SW 5th Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Dec. 3, hosted by the Oregon Health Authority. Drive-through vaccination clinics at the Ontario Airport Firehouse, 581 SW 33rd St. are scheduled for Saturdays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 11, hosted by Malheur County. Find more information and share the flyers here.

“Vaccination is the single most important and powerful public health intervention in human history. More lives have been saved and more misery averted through vaccination than anything we have ever done,” said Malheur County Health Department Director Sarah Poe. “Along with the many childhood vaccines that prevent disease, we know the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks and protect our community, keep our kids in school, and prevent outbreaks.”

Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine making its way to Oregon

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 5 to 11.

The FDA overwhelming voted to support vaccinating younger children and offered these key points for parents and caregivers to consider:

• Effectiveness

o The immune response of children 5-11 years old was comparable to that of teenagers and young adults 16-25 years old.

o The vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5 -11.

• Safety

o The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5-11. No serious side effects were detected in the ongoing study.

Deciding whether to vaccinate a child in your care may not be easy. Malheur County Health Department encourages you to talk with your provider to get your questions answered.

What’s next? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet this week to discuss further clinical recommendations, once those recommendations are made, the Western States Scientific Study Review Workgroup will meet to make a recommendation. We expect these steps to be implemented in the next couple of weeks, and then Gov. Brown will authorize use of pediatric COVID-19 doses in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority, and MCHD, will be prepared to offer doses to children 5-11 shortly thereafter, as will physician’s offices, clinics and pharmacies in the Treasure Valley. Contact your provider to discuss whether the vaccination will benefit your child. More information on the process of approving vaccines in Oregon can be found here.

Flow chart that visually represents and summarizes the information described in this article.

COVID-19 vaccination clinic Thursday

A drive-through COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinic will be held Thursday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 790 NW 9th St. in Ontario. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters will be available, as well as all doses of all three vaccines, and vaccine recipients will receive a $25 gift card.

Enter through the southern entrance to the fairgrounds, off 9th Street, and follow signage and verbal instructions. There will be two lines for vaccines, in an effort to move the line more quickly, but don’t forget to allow for an observation period lasting 15 minutes after your injection.

Reminder: if you have already received a dose, or two doses of vaccine, please bring your vaccine card, or show a photo of your vaccine card, to save time.

For information about who qualifies for a booster dose, follow the links on this post.

This will be the last drive-through event at the fairgrounds this year, due to cooler temperatures.

Get a COVID-19 vaccine – and EOCCO will reward you with a $200 Amazon gift card!

Get a COVID-19 vaccine – get a $200 Amazon gift card!

Starting Oct. 1, 2021, the first 200 EOCCO members to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and fill out our online form will receive a $200 Amazon gift card. EOCCO is for people enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) who live in the eastern Oregon counties EOCCO serves, including Malheur county.

Your first vaccine dose must be received on or after Oct. 1 2021 in order to be eligible for the gift card.

You can make the choice to keep yourself and those around you safe by getting the shot.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Call your doctor or visit the Get Vaccinated Oregon website to find a vaccine site near you or visit the MCHD vaccine list of providers here.
  • Let us know when you’ve received your first COVID-19 vaccine dose by filling out the form linked below. You can also call us at 888-788-9821 (TTY users, call 711) to give this information.
  • Wait for an email from EOCCO confirming that you can receive a gift card.
  • Look for your Amazon gift card in the mail or in your email inbox.

More information about the vaccine and how many gift cards are left can be found here. EOCCO encourages all members to get their second dose if they received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Please keep in mind that by clicking the link below, you will be directed to a third-party website (Constant Contact) to complete the online form. Certain pieces of protected health information (PHI) will be requested to complete the form. Constant Contact may keep the data you submit to complete the form. You can view Constant Contact’s Privacy Policy here

Information entered into this form will be shared with EOCCO. You can view EOCCO’s privacy policy here. If you prefer to share this information directly with EOCCO, please call Customer Service at 1-888-788-9821 to complete the form over the phone.

By clicking the link below and/or completing the online form, you acknowledge that you have read and consent to the privacy policies listed above.

Complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive online form here: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sv/hI7mes8

Enlace al formulario del programa de incentivos para la vacuna contra COVID-19: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sv/VbKe4LI

Vigil and Community Outreach 10/27

Memorial Ideas for Loved Ones: Holding a Candlelight Vigil

Nathaniel “Sean” Stringer, MCHD Health Promotion Supervisor, passed away last week. Anyone is welcome to an outdoor vigil to celebrate his life and work this Wednesday, 10/27, at 6 p.m. in the Japanese Garden at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 SW 5th Avenue, Ontario. The health department team is deeply saddened by this loss of someone who worked so hard and helped so many. Nathaniel was passionate about peer services and in his honor, and all those who help people in recovery, the Malheur County Health Department Peer Services, Lifeways, Origins Faith Community, and Drug Free Communities Coalition will have information to share and ways to connect to community resources at the vigil.

For more information, please call Peer Services at 541-709-8539. Lifeways 24-hour crisis services is available at 541-889-9167 or text “HOME” to 741741. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available 24 hours at 800-273-8255. In an emergency, call 911.

Moderna, J&J boosters available now

The Oregon Health Authority team will administer Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses, as well as first, second and third doses of Moderna and Pfizer, first doses of J&J and booster doses of Pfizer today at the Malheur County Fairgrounds, 790 NW 9th St., in Ontario, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the same time, the Malheur County ICS team will offer COVID-19 rapid testing.

Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the ICS team will offer vaccines, including booster doses, and the OHA will provide COVID-19 testing, with results coming back in a few days.

OHA graphic repeats information in post.

More information about booster doses can be found here.

Information about which conditions make people more likely to get very ill from COVID-19 is here.

If you aren’t sure whether to get your child vaccinated against COVID-19, some information is here.

Some frequently asked questions and their answers are here.

Beginning Nov. 3, every Wednesday in November and December (except the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas), the Malheur County Health Department will offer extended hours in its clinic, opening from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for walk-in clients who wish to receive a vaccine (COVID-19, flu, childhood vaccines, etc.). Additionally, in anticipation of the FDA and CDC’s authorization of COVID-19 doses for children 5-11 years old, MCHD is planning Saturday drive-through vaccination clinics. More information to follow.

Every person who receives a dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines will receive a $25 gift card.

When can you get your Moderna booster?

With the FDA’s announcement Wednesday that it has authorized boosters for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the Health Department has been receiving questions about when those vaccine boosters will be available in Malheur County.

There are a few steps which need to take place prior to delivering boosters in Malheur County. This graphic shows some of the steps:

Wednesday’s action was Step 3, and the recommendation now goes to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The remaining steps could be completed in the next few weeks, so watch this space for updates and information.

MCHD Recovery Outreach events cancelled this week

Malheur County Health Department’s Recovery Outreach events will be cancelled this week. These events include Walk-Through Wednesday, Thursday’s event at Origins and Friday at the Bottle Drop.

Safe use supplies are available during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Health Department office, 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario. For assistance, please call 541-709-8539 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If this is an emergency, please call the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or Lifeways Crisis Line at 541-889-9167 or 1-800-995-9169.

Walk Thru Wednesday cancelled this week

Malheur County Health Department’s Walk Thru Wednesday will be cancelled this week.

Safe use supplies are available during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Health Department office, 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario. For assistance, please call 541-709-8539 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

If this is an emergency, please call the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or Lifeways Crisis Line at 541-889-9167 or 1-800-995-9169.

Let’s trick-or-treat safely!

The time for ghosts, goblins and sticky sweets is approaching faster than you can say “Boo!” OK, maybe not that fast, but it is time to start preparing for a safe Halloween.

This year, if you plan to trick-or-treat or hand out candy, please keep these tips in mind for a fun and healthy outing: 

  • Get everyone 12 and older vaccinated so they can start to build their immunity. 
  • Stay outdoors if you gather with people from another household.  
  • Keep six feet of distance from the zombie dragons and pirates you pass. Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to predict whether a child will be able to maintain distance while trick-or-treating.  
  • Wear a proper face covering. A plastic costume mask is not a COVID-safe face covering. 
  • Remember it’s not safe to wear a costume mask over a face covering, but decorating a child’s face covering might bring an added touch of fun to their costume!  
  • Also remember it’s not safe for children younger than 2 to wear a mask.  
  • Pay attention when going door-to-door. If one house looks a bit crowded with fellow trick-or-treaters, try another house that isn’t as busy – you can always go back to that house later.
  • When trunk-or-treating:
    • consider arriving very early so you can be in front of the crowd when walking from trunk to trunk.
    • Leave space between your group and the group in front of you.
    • Allow the group in front of you to leave a trunk before you approach it. 
35,383 Trick Or Treat Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

A few extra considerations:  

  • Choose practical shoes. Even little ones who ask to be carried on most days may suddenly find that they can’t walk a marathon on Halloween.  
  • Carry a flashlight or glowstick or put reflective tape on costumes to help other people and drivers spot little goblins and superheroes.  
  • Discard candy if the wrapper is torn.  
  • Bring along hand sanitizer to use when needed.  

A special note about the one in 13 children living with food allergies: The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive by asking people to offer non-food trinkets and treats that are safe for everyone. You can participate by placing a teal pumpkin on your porch or front steps. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) has more information about living with food allergies here

Lastly, a reminder to drivers. Please slow down and be alert! Kids are excited and may run into the street. It’s a good day to turn on your headlights early so trick-or-treaters can see you and you can spot them from farther away.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more tips for safe trick-or-treating here.