Oregon prepares to offer COVID vaccines to children ages 5-11

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
Oct. 29, 2021 9:44 p.m.

The lower-dose vaccine has received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 could be coming to Oregon pharmacies and medical providers next week.

The vaccine, a lower-dose version of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adults, received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday.


According to the FDA, a vaccine study found the formula for children was 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in 5 to 11 year-olds. No serious side effects have been detected in the study.

Workers wearing masks handle vials of COVID-19 vaccines while seated at tables.

COVID-19 vaccine preparation at a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Portland International Airport, April 9, 2021. The clinic is a joint operation hosted by Oregon Health & Science University, the Port of Portland and the American Red Cross.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff/ OPB

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee will meet next week to further discuss the vaccine, a final step before eligible children can start getting vaccinated.

The Oregon Health Authority estimates there are 330,000 children between five and 11 in Oregon who are eligible for this vaccine.

Delivery for “roughly 120,000″ initial doses is expected in the next week, according to OHA. Those doses will supply around 350 sites in Oregon.

“Every county has sites that will receive pre-order shipments, and every enrolled provider that filed a request for vaccine doses was offered vaccine,” OHA officials shared Friday.


An additional 60,000 doses are headed to 87 pharmacy sites around the state from the federal government.

OHA said the state will have access to “tends of thousands of doses” November 9, November 18, and periodically going forward.

And in Oregon’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools, officials announced vaccination clinics at eight elementary schools in the coming weeks. It’s a partnership between the district and Kaiser Permanente.

“Being able to vaccinate this age group is a big step forward in keeping our kids safe while they’re at school and out in the community, limiting the spread of COVID, and bringing this pandemic to an end,” said Dr. Lisa Denike, Kaiser Permanente’s Chief of Pediatrics in a PPS press release.

“We’re pleased to partner with PPS to make the vaccination process as easy as possible for parents, by bringing it directly into schools.”

There are no dates for the clinics yet, which will be hosted at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt, Cesar Chavez, Faubion, Lent, Rigler, Rosa Parks, Scott and Sitton schools. The district may add more clinics at other schools in the future.

The district will offer vaccine clinics after school and in the evening. A student must have a parent or guardian with them to get vaccinated.

“Schools have long served as trusted community hubs,” said Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero in the district release.

“They are ideal locations to help administer vaccines rapidly and efficiently.”

Though the district is currently considering a vaccine mandate for students, the requirements up for discussion would only apply to students 12 and older.


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