Staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters is the most important step you and your family can take this season. Not only does it help prevent COVID-19 infections so that we can move beyond the pandemic, vaccinations and boosters also protect our children from infections, complications, and potential long-term effects of COVID-19. Even if your child has had COVID-19 before, there are still significant benefits to getting vaccinated.
At East Portland Pediatric Clinic, we highly recommend children ages six months and up receive their primary series. For children ages five and up we highly recommend they receive both their primary series and boosters. The following lists all the available COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses at our clinic by age:
For kids aged six months to four years old, we have both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available. The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose series carried out over a minimum of 11 weeks, and the Moderna vaccine is currently a two-dose series, four weeks apart. There is currently no booster for this age group, but we expect it to be approved in the near future.
For ages five to 11 years old, we have Pfizer doses available in a two-dose primary series as well as the bivalent booster, which is now approved for ages five and up to replace the original booster, it covers two variants of COVID-19, the original and the BA.5 Omicron variant). This booster can be given a minimum of two months after completing the primary series or a previous booster dose. For those 12 years old and older, we have Pfizer doses available for the primary two-dose series and the bivalent booster, which can be given two months after completing the primary series.
Because our supply of the bivalent booster for five-year-olds and up is limited, these can only be scheduled on certain days. This helps prevent having to waste doses. We have been informed by the Oregon Health Authority that, once approved, booster doses for six months to four year olds will be in very short supply initially. You can find boosters at pharmacies, school health centers, and vaccination clinics in multiple locations.
Note: While the Moderna vaccine is also available for ages five and up, we currently don’t have it available in our clinic.
If you want to read more, here’s the link to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) page on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
How else can you prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- Handwashing. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from a wide variety of germs.
- Mask in crowded, indoor settings. Masking is also highly recommended if you or your child is sick or interacting with someone at medium or high risk. Dr. Matthieu’s children, like many other students, continue to wear masks at school.
- Stay home when sick. Like handwashing, keeping your kids (and yourself) home while sick is essential to preventing the spread of all infectious diseases. For a more comprehensive list of symptoms visit the AAP’s page on when to keep your sick child at home. We also have a list of acetaminophen and ibuprofen dosages on our website.
- Test often. Because the public health emergency is extended to April, you can continue to receive eight home COVID-19 tests per person per month that are paid for by your insurance company. You do not need a prescription, but you must get them through your pharmacist as they bill your insurance as if it were a prescription. Many pharmacies have a link on their website for requesting tests.
- Don’t forget your flu vaccine! Like RSV, the flu is circulating at much higher rates this year. The best way to protect against it is to get vaccinated each year. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, including childcare staff. For newborns and infants under 6 months vaccinating those around them, and getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy, is the only way to protect this vulnerable age group.
- Avoid the emergency room unless absolutely necessary. Pediatric offices, emergency departments, and hospitals across the country have been dealing with very large numbers of patients, and in most states there’s a shortage of pediatric hospital beds. All pediatric hospitals in Portland are currently operating under crisis standards of care. This means there are not enough beds, supplies, nurses, and other important personnel.
Need to schedule a vaccination for your child? Contact us for an appointment as soon as possible.
Expect longer wait times
Due to the increase in respiratory illnesses this season we’re even busier than usual. We’re working hard to meet your needs. At times we do have to prioritize urgent situations, which may make your wait time for an appointment or question answered longer. Thank you for your patience and understanding.