(Updated: adding video, comments from Mosaic Medical)
C.O. clinics working on options as COVID-19 vaccine for children nears federal approval
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11, the first vaccine authorized for younger children, based on an advisory committee's recommendation of its safety and effectiveness.
Tamarra Harris, manager of the pediatric program for Mosaic Medical, says everything is already in place to administer vaccines -- now they wait for the green light.
Harris says that could be as soon as Tuesday, with final federal authorization
"We've got them ordered, we've got the schedules blocked, we've got the dates set up," Harris said. "We are just waiting for the 'go.'"
Harris says Mosaic Medical won't be offering vaccines in schools, due to limited staffing.
However, they will have clinics around Central Oregon, with walk-ins and self-scheduling, as well as clinics in their school-based health centers for rural areas.
The Oregon Health Authority reported Thursday that pediatric COVID-19 cases have increased dramatically since July. Out of the children who test positive, it's highest among ages five-11.
Harris says that's part of the reason Mosaic Medical is already prepared, in anticipation of vaccine approval.
"The more vaccines we can get in arms -- including adults -- including youth of all ages, I think it's our ticket out of here and the safer we're going to be, and returning to some sort of normal," she added.
Pfizer says in tests, its vaccine was nearly 91 percent effective at preventing symptomatic illness in children.
Children ages five to 11 will receive a third of a dose, and those vials are already on their way to Central Oregon.
The question now goes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its advisory panel meets next Tuesday to discuss whether to recommend use of the vaccine among children. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky makes the final decision.