PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Brad Jackson heard that the Federal Drug Authority had approved the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents, he took his 14-year-old to the Oregon Convention Center.
But when they arrived, they were turned away.
“We found parking, got over here and were told we can’t do it yet,” he said.
This was surprising news for many parents in Oregon.
Oregon health officials said that while the FDA approval is exciting news, there are a few more steps that need to happen before kids ages 12 to 15 can get vaccinated in Oregon.
“Do please remember that the FDA approval is just the first step and we also still need to get approval from what is called ACIP, which is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices under the CDC so that approval needs to come through and we need to hear from our own state, the Western pack and also from the OHA,” said Dr. Renee Edwards, Chief Medical Officer at OHSU.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also still needs to review it. According to the Oregon Health Authority, APIC and WSSSRW will meet on May 12.
In the meantime, the OHA is working with school districts, community-based organizations and health care providers to make sure the vaccine is readily available for eligible youth throughout the state.
Metropolitan Pediatrics is already getting calls and they are working on logistics to store the vaccine.
“We have six clinics across the Portland area and right after the announcement happened all of the nurses were telling me … they want the vaccine today and I’m like well we don’t have it today and it’s not approved in Oregon yet. We have to give it a couple more days and then we will get everybody going,” said Dr. Resa Bradeen, chief medical officer at Metropolitan Pediatrics.
Dr. Bradeen said they hope to get large quantities of the vaccine over the next two weeks so they can start working down the wait list.
Clinical trials found that the Pfizer vaccine is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 in kids 12 through 15.
“As we roll this out to our community, we want to make sure that kids get vaccinated and don’t get COVID,” Dr. Bradeen said.
When the vaccine is eventually approved Dr. Edwards encourages parents to get their children vaccinated.
“Please bring your 12 to 15 year olds to get vaccinated,” she said. “We are excited that parents are looking forward to this opportunity and we are ready to do it just as soon as we get that final approval.”