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As COVID cases surge in Chaffee County, Chaffee County Public health (CCPH) is preparing to vaccinate children ages five to 11-years-old. The moment couldn’t come soon enough as our positivity rate is over five percent (the percentage where the risk of community spread is imminent) and rising. Yesterday Chaffee county hit its highest single-day case rate, and earlier this week it appears that close to 30 percent of the new cases are in children under age 18.

COVID-19 vaccine Photo by Hakan-Nural for unsplash

“The moment that many families in our county have been eagerly anticipating is here- our younger children five and older are all eligible to be vaccinated. This is one more step toward moving on from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and provides families with the best layer of protection as we near the holiday season and what will certainly be a more hopeful and promising new year in 2022,” said CCPH Director Andrea Carlstrom.

The vaccine for children was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval, under Emergency Use Authorization, and as of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) has strongly recommended it; a smaller dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine than adult doses.

“The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, preventing serious illness and hospitalizations,” said Carlstrom. “Vaccinated children will no longer be met with the uncertainties of quarantine requirements, and therefore, vaccinated families will experience fewer, if any, disruptions due to COVID-19.”

Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) is offering county families several opportunities to protect their children prior to the holiday season. Mass vaccination clinics for this newly eligible group will be by appointment only. The links for the events are live:

Families are asked to come at their assigned time to mitigate congestion. The vaccine is free, and it is highly encouraged to fill out the paperwork ahead of time. These clinics are intended and prioritized for Chaffee County residents ages 5-11.

Clinic dates and locations hosted by CCPH will be:

Longfellow Elementary School, Salida

1st dose: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, November 12

2nd dose: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, December 3

*** CCPH also takes individuals 12 and older getting their 1st, 2nd, or booster dose of Pfizer. Instructions will be found on the RSVPify website.

Former Colorado Mountain College Campus, Current BOCES Building at 27900 County Road 319, Buena Vista

1st dose: 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 16

2nd dose: 3:00 p.m. to  6:00 p.m. Monday, December 6

Helpful Information:

  • If your younger child needs their shot in the leg, please come in shorts or pants that can be pulled up so that kids do not need to undress.
  • If your child is getting a shot in their arm, please wear clothing that allows easy access to the upper arm (deltoid muscle).
  • If your child is uncomfortable getting a shot in a setting like this (large gym or room with vaccine stations, seeing other children get shots), your primary care physician should also have Pfizer vaccine for this age group. CCPH and other local providers offer individual appointments. Additional opportunities should be readily available.
  • Activities will be provided during the 15 minute observation period post-vaccination.
  • Any child under 18 must have a parent/guardian with them OR a parent/guardian’s signature on their paperwork. Masks are required for everyone. Be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes at the clinic.
  • If a family is unable to make it to one of the 2nd dose clinics, they are encouraged to contact CCPH to make an individual appointment or seek out a 2nd dose from another provider. However, arranging schedules to attend one of the mass vaccination 2nd dose clinics is preferred.
  • These clinics are walk-through indoors clinics, NOT not drive-through.