OCSD plans vaccine clinic for young students

In this September 2021 photo, students at Charles E. Riley Elementary prepare to enter the building on the first day of the 2021-22 school year.

OSWEGO — Oswego City School District officials are planning a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for some of the district’s youngest students, following federal approvals of a lower-dose vaccine meant for children ages five to 11.

The district — in partnership with the Oswego County Health Department — will host the clinic Nov. 18, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m, at the Oswego High School cafeteria for students aged five to 11 age, according to Oswego City School District (OCSD) Superintendent Mathis Calvin III. Qualifying students will be required to bring along parents or other legal guardians, as well as a signed permission slip that will be made available online in the near future. 

“Our goal is to make sure that we can offer the vaccine in schools for anyone who wants to be vaccinated,” Calvin said. 

Calvin said an online registration would be  announced in the coming days. He said if residents are unable to register for the clinic online, they can call the COVID-19 hotline at (315) 341-2050 for assistance over the phone. 

The Nov. 18 clinic would be among the first clinical offerings of the COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 12 in the county.

In late October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a pediatric dose of Pfizer’s “Comirnaty” vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) later lent their support to the shot, citing findings that suggest a full, two-shot dose has a 91 percent rate of effectiveness against contracting COVID-19. 

Oswego County Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the decision has been “months in the making”

“The vaccine will help protect kids from getting the infection and further reduce the spread of the virus,” Huang said in a release issued earlier this week.

Oswego County Medical Director Christina Liepke said the data submitted by Pfizer shows fewer side effects can be expected in children taking the pediatric dose.

“Specifically, the rate of the most common side effects – headache, fatigue and muscle aches – was lower in five-to-11-year-olds than they were in those aged 18 to 55 years,” she said.

The Health Department is also collaborating with ConnextCare and local pharmacies to vaccinate children in this age range. The department will vaccinate children at the school districts in Hannibal, Central Square, and Fulton starting this Friday. 

“I encourage those who are eligible for the vaccine to get their shot and help us protect our communities,” Huang said. “The vaccine will protect you and your family as well as those who are not eligible to receive the vaccine themselves. Working together, we can make this county safer and healthier.”

The County Health Department estimated Monday there are 411 active COVID-19 cases. This keeps Oswego County under the CDC’s “high” level of community transmission designation. According to CDC criteria, “high” transmission areas are those with 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher every seven days.

The state Department of Health estimates the county vaccination rate at close to 56 percent.

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