Vaccinations

One day after a COVID-19 vaccine was approved for school-age children, local health authorities applauded the news, saying it could be a step toward getting out of the pandemic.

Dr. Eric Gleason, assistant director of Coos Health & Wellness, said he is planning to get his children vaccinated and urged other parents to consider doing the same.

He said even though the federal and state governments have approved the vaccine for 5- to 11-year olds, it may take a little while before children in Coos County can get vaccinated.

"We're working on it," Gleason said. "We're getting the vaccine into the county. I imagine providers will be ready by mid- to late this week."

Gleason said every person that gets vaccinated is one step closer to defeating COVID.

"It's a step in the right direction to get our county where we need to be," Gleason said.

As of Thursday, 67.9% of adults have been vaccinated in Coos County, with 57.9% of the entire population. Both are slightly higher than a week ago.

Becky Fairhurst with Coos Health & Wellness said the major problems seen in schools just weeks ago have calmed down, but COVID cases are still being reported.

"We continue to have school kids we have infected," Fairhurst said. "It's still hapening. As numbers go down, cases go down."

Gleason said talk about reducing preventive measures such as masking and social distancing is premature. To get to that point, more people of all ages need to get vaccinated.

"Including school age children can only push us up where we can reduce some preventive measures," Gleason said. "We want to be able to move about in a similar direction we used to. That would be nice. I hope with this vaccine coming out, we can begin to move back to the way we used to be."

Gleason said some parents are understandably questioning the vaccine for young children, but those who know the most about it are excited to get their children vaccinated.

"Those who understand the efficiacy of the vaccine, they were excited," Gleason said. "Those who understand vaccines, they were excited. I think there's optimism to be had here."

Gleason said his children are excited to get vaccinated, saying that's not surprising considering his job.

"The kids are basically going to parrot what their parents are going to say," Gleason said.

Gleason said under Oregon law anyone uder age 14 must have parental consent to get vaccinated, so he expects the children who get vaccinated to mirror the adults in the county.

"I think we're going to see a big jump in numbers, but I think it's going to be along the same line as parents," he said. "As of right now, there is going to be a conversation between families and their provider, and that's the right way to do it."

For information on the vaccine or to make an appointment to receive one, visit www.cooshealthandwellness.org.

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