Pharmacist Kaitlin Harring, left, administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination to three year-old Fletcher Pack, while he sits on the lap of his mother, McKenzie Pack, at Walgreens pharmacy Monday, June 20, 2022, in Lexington, S.C. Today marked the first day COVID-19 vaccinations were made available to children under 5 in the United States. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

Pharmacist Kaitlin Harring, left, administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination to three year-old Fletcher Pack, while he sits on the lap of his mother, McKenzie Pack, at Walgreens pharmacy Monday, June 20, 2022, in Lexington, S.C. Today marked the first day COVID-19 vaccinations were made available to children under 5 in the United States. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

Clinics readying to vaccinate new age group of children

CDC clearance for the new age group went out Tuesday.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearing children aged six months to five years for the initial coronavirus vaccine, Juneau’s clinics are gearing up for a new wave of vaccinations.

The Juneau Public Health Clinic has been fielding a fair amount of calls about getting children vaccinated, said public health nurse Elaine Hickey, but it’s difficult to tell how many people will be coming in.

“It’s hard to judge. We’re expecting an increase in our vaccine clinics,” Hickey said in an interview. “We’ve been getting calls from people inquiring where and when.”

[Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Cordova]

The public health clinic currently offers vaccines from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Hickey said. The United States is the first country in the world to offer vaccines to virtually its entire population, the Associated Press reported.

“If we’re seeing a greater demand, we can look at the possibility of expanding to another day or a partial day until demand dies back down,” Hickey said. “We’re going to be flexible.”

The Juneau Public Health Center, alongside Juneau Urgent Care and the SouthEast Regional Health Consortium, will be offering vaccines to six-month through five-year-olds as soon as the state issues a medical directive detailing the procedure this week. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

The Juneau Public Health Center, alongside Juneau Urgent Care and the SouthEast Regional Health Consortium, will be offering vaccines to six-month through five-year-olds as soon as the state issues a medical directive detailing the procedure this week. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Hickey said the clinic had been clearing 20-32 vaccine appointments a week recently. Registering for an appointment ahead of time speeds the process, Hickey said, and patients aren’t required to bring anything.

“Our appointments are like a 15-minute time slot,” Hickey said. “They just have to answer a few questions and fill in their demographic information.”

Supplies of the vaccines may be somewhat limited for many Juneau providers, said nurse manager Alison Gottschalk. More vaccines are expected to arrive before the end of the week, Hickey said.

Juneau providers are waiting for a medical directive, which details how and who to administer the vaccines to, from the state to go ahead and begin providing them to the new age group, Hickey said. Such directives usually come through very quickly, Gottschalk said, and it’s expected to arrive in the next day or two.

The public health clinic, Juneau Urgent Care and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium are the three providers in Juneau that will be providing the vaccines to all age groups including the new age group of young children, Hickey said.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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