Local high schools to host free COVID vaccination clinics for students

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In a first for the state, Central Oregon high schools will host free vaccination clinics for students starting next week.

The High School COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics project will reduce barriers to vaccine accessibility among our youth while building healthier communities worldwide.

Beginning next week, the region’s 4,000 high schoolers – youth 16 and older – one of the fastest-growing COVID-19 positive age groups in the state, will be able to receive their first vaccine – free – at school.

The effort is thanks to a regional partnership with local school districts, Mosaic Pediatrics, La Pine Community Health Center, St. Charles Health System, Deschutes County Health Services and Crook County Health Department.

“This effort will remove socio-economic, language and transportation barriers – increasing access for students, thus helping to slow the spread of the virus and protect those around them – grandparents, teachers and bus drivers, family members and friends,” said Ellie Millan, PNP and Pediatrics Clinic Medical Director at Mosaic Medical. “The vaccines are powerful tools that, in conjunction with other safety measures like face masks, good hygiene and physical distancing, can help keep our schools open and students in class with their teachers and peers.”

In Oregon, minors who are 15 or older are able to consent to medical services – including immunizations – without parental consent.

Like their adult counterparts, youth who are fully vaccinated and are not symptomatic will not be required to quarantine if deemed a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual – keeping fully vaccinated students in classrooms and participating in athletics, activities and other enrichment activities.

Each high school will host two clinics before the end of the school year, allowing students who choose to participate to be fully vaccinated before the summer:

Bend Senior High School: April 29 and May 20

La Pine High School: May 6 and May 27

Mountain View High School: May 4 and May 25

Crook County High School: May 4 and May 25

Summit High School: May 6 and May 27

Redmond High School: May 7 and May 26

Ridgeview High School: May 11 and June 1

Sisters High School: May 13 and June 3

Madras High School: Completed in April

Students from area private schools, alternative learning options and charter schools will be invited to attend the clinic nearest to their school location.

Summit High School senior Julia Burdsall already received a COVID-19 vaccination and is excited that high schools will host free vaccination clinics in the coming weeks.

“Being fully vaccinated is such a relief – it feels awesome!,” said Burdsall. “These free clinics at school are going to be a great and easy way for students at our high school to get vaccinated and I hope students who are eligible participate. Getting vaccinated was important to me because I want to do my part to protect my family and community.”

Julia is one of many student ambassadors who are helping spread the word to students throughout the region, encouraging fellow students to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Families are encouraged to discuss vaccinations and make a decision about their student’s participation together, and to learn more about vaccines through trusted sources such as the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, or their doctor.

“These clinics are a shining example of the incredible public-private partnerships we have in Central Oregon, where agencies are working together to help create safer and healthier communities” said Muriel DeLaVergne-Brown, Public Health Administrator, Crook County Health Department. “We are thrilled that these clinics will help our students get back closer to normal – and be able to enjoy the summer safely with their friends and families.”

Mosaic Pediatrics is the medical sponsor of the Bend, Redmond and Sisters area clinics. Deschutes County Health Services, in partnership with La Pine Community Health Center and St. Charles Health System, is delivering the La Pine area clinic.

Crook County Health Department will offer the vaccine to students in Crook County.

Madras High School completed school-based vaccinations, with Mosaic, in April.

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