After School Pediatric Vaccination Clinics to start Nov. 9
Pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Sonoma County students ages 5 and older, as well as their families, will start on Tuesday Nov. 9. A full schedule of after school vaccination clinics can be found at scoe.org/vaccines and the County of Sonoma's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics calendar at socoemergency.org/events/category/pop-up-vaccine/
The clinics are the result of a partnership between Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), Sonoma County Department of Health Services, and Sonoma County school districts that have offered to host clinics. School-based clinics will offer the Pfizer vaccine, which received full approval from the CDC for children ages 5-11 on Nov. 2.
"Vaccinated students will not need to be quarantined if they're not symptomatic after they have been exposed to the virus at school," said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. "Being vaccinated is one of the best ways students can enjoy the academic and extracurricular aspects of school while protecting themselves, their families, and their friends.”
The pediatric vaccine is a specialized vaccine for children and includes a lower dose, a third of the dose given to adults and teenagers. The dose size was chosen to strike the right balance between providing strong immunity and limiting side effects. It was found to be nearly 91% effective at preventing COVID-19. It is given via smaller needles for smaller arms.
The pediatric vaccination clinic sites are located in Sonoma County communities where there are low vaccination rates, a high English Learner population, and high free and reduced lunch numbers.
"The intent is to offer the vaccines to families who may not have access to a primary family doctor," said Casey D'Angelo, SCOE's COVID-19 vaccination liaison. "The hope is that these families will take advantage of the clinics. However, if there is a vaccine available, no one will be turned away."
It is expected that during the next two weeks there will be limited pediatric vaccines available in Sonoma County. "A majority of these vaccines will go to the clinics so it can reach those families who most need it," continued D'Angelo. "It is believed that after a couple of weeks there will be a lot more pediatric vaccines available at doctor's offices, hospitals, and pharmacies."
The County of Sonoma and SCOE will host an English-language community webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. and a Spanish-language community webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. Families will have a chance to ask questions and learn more about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for students ages 5-11. The webinar will be streamed live on the county's Facebook page.
Since 1995, California has mandated that school-aged children be vaccinated against 10 vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, and polio. The result has been that measles, for example, has nearly disappeared.