Bring a friend to get vaccinated, get a gift card

Saturday, Nov. 20, if a vaccinated person brings an unvaccinated friend or family member to the MCHD vaccine clinic at the Ontario Municipal Airport firehouse, both will receive a gift card after the vaccine is given. There is no limit to the number of people a vaccinated person can bring to the event.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the airport firehouse, 3288 SW 4th Ave., in Ontario. Booster doses, first, second and third doses, and doses for children age 5-11 will be available.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is available to anyone ages 5 and older. If you’re unsure whether your child should receive a vaccine, talk to their pediatrician.

There is so much misinformation right now about COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC has put together some helpful information about how to find credible vaccine information. That can be found here.

The CDC also addresses some myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. For instance: “Are all events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) caused by vaccination?” “No.” The full fact sheet can be found here.

Boys get vaccinated in memory of grandmother

Garrett (6) and Trenton (9) Schulthies came to the Malheur County after-hours clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 10 to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which will help protect them against serious illness or death if they contract the virus which causes COVID-19.

Their mom, Lori, received a booster dose at the same time. All three were also inoculated against the flu virus. Lori says the boys lost their grandmother to complications of COVID-19, while two other grandparents and an aunt were hospitalized.

“If we don’t get vaccinated, there’s a way higher chance we could die,” Trenton said, when asked why he chose to be vaccinated. Garrett decided to keep it real when asked the same question: “Mom forced me. I didn’t have a choice.”

Children age 5-11 are now eligible to be protected against the virus that causes COVID-19, after the FDA recently authorized use of a smaller dose for children. Wednesday was the first day the vaccine was available to children at the Malheur County Health Department, and eight children received their first dose that day.

Malheur County has extended its clinic hours on Wednesdays through the end of December, except for the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The clinic, at 1108 SW 4th Ave. in Ontario, will be open to walk-in clients looking for vaccinations from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on those days. Everyone age 5 and up is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and most adults who received their second dose more than six months ago are eligible for a booster dose.

The county is also hosting drive-through vaccine clinics on two upcoming Saturdays, Nov. 20 and Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Ontario Airport firehouse, 581 SW 33rd St., in Ontario.

Do you have questions about vaccinating your child against COVID-19?

If you have questions about the new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5-11, you are not alone. Some of your questions may be answered by this Frequently Asked Questions document compiled by the Oregon Health Authority.

If your questions are about vaccinating a 12-17-year-old, there are some answers here.

Malheur County Health Department has extended clinic hours Wednesdays during November and December (excluding the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas) to offer walk-in COVID-19 and flu vaccines. The clinic, at 1108 SW 4th St. in Ontario, will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on those days, and those who want them can receive a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. The county will also host two Saturday drive-through vaccine clinics at the Ontario Airport firehouse, 581 SW 33rd St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 11. Gift cards will be made available to people who receive COVID-19 vaccines at these events.

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.