School COVID-19

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16- and 17-year olds in Coos County will have a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.

Coos Health & Wellness will be offering the Pfizer vaccine to the group of teenagers on May 8.

Since the other available vaccines are only approved for patients 18 and older, and the county’s location has limited its supply of the Pfizer shots, it’s one of the few chances the youngest-eligible group has been able to get a shot.

“We have to get all of the Pfizer doses out the door. It’s very seldom we get Pfizer, but we have Pfizer because we have 16- and 17-year-old population to utilize these vaccines, and we want to do everything we can to get that event filled up,” said CHW Assistant Director Dr. Eric Gleason.

Even though younger people tend to have milder COVID-19 symptoms, Gleason said it’s still important to get as many eligible people in the community vaccinated as possible.

“We’ve seen more and more of the spread in younger populations, especially with the presence of variants,” Gleason said.

As of Thursday, just 16% of the county’s 16- to 19-olds have been vaccinated against the virus, according to the Oregon Health Authority. That’s compared to 39% of the population countywide.

“Its beneficial at any age that has the ability to get the vaccine to get the vaccine,” Gleason said.

Appointments for the May 8 event — and for other events with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which 16- and 17-year-olds cannot receive — can be made by following the link online at cooshealthandwellness.org/ or by calling 541-435-7353.

Under Oregon law, a parent or guardian is not required to be present for anyone over 15 years old to get a vaccine.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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