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First of eight vaccine clinics at Portland Public Schools opens this week

The effort is part of a pilot program involving eight schools. The pilot will start with one school on Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Public Schools opened its first COVID vaccine clinic for kids 5-11 on Wednesday. The district plans to open vaccine clinics at eight schools in the coming weeks as part of a pilot program in partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Medical Teams International, a non-profit organization.

The first vaccine clinic for kids 5-11 years old took place at Faubion, a Northeast Portland school with about 700 kids from Pre-K to eighth grade. 

While roughly 60 families had registered, others walked up without an appointment and stood in line, something the district had anticipated would happen. Among the first to stand in line was Brie Martocci, parent to two children Toni who attends Faubion as a first grader and Frankie who is in Pre-K.

"I'm so excited. It's been a day I've been waiting for," said Martocci.

"The little one's scared but her bigger sister is like, 'it's okay we'll be able to hang out more with our friends."

The clinics in the pilot program are specifically for students who attend the schools involved and their families, according to Courtney Westling, the director of government relations for PPS.

“We're really trying to dedicate these initial clinics to the students at that school and their family members," said Westling, whose task lately has been to organize the clinics for students. "We're doing that intentionally, to make sure that students who face some of our higher barriers have access to vaccines. We're really trying to be equity-focused here.”

RELATED: How to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for kids in Oregon, Washington

That's the focus for all eight schools in the pilot program: 

  • Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary, 
  • Cesar Chavez School
  • Faubion School
  • Lent Elementary 
  • Rigler Elementary
  • Rosa Parks Elementary
  • Scott Elementary 
  • Sitton Elementary

“I think there are probably 150 vaccines available for this event," Westling said regarding the vaccine event at Faubion. "I don't know if we'll get that many students vaccinated because we only have four hours. We'll see. We'll do the best we can."

The clinic started right after school at 3:30 p.m. and was scheduled to last for four hours. A parent or guardian had to be present and they'll have to sign a consent form.

RELATED: Here's what you need to know: COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11

“We'll have water and snacks available and you know, hopefully it'll be a really positive experience for everybody and there won't be too many tears,” said Westling. She stressed this first vaccination clinic is only for Faubion students and their families.

Next week, Westling said there will be five more clinics at different schools in the pilot program. Once the pilot is complete, the district hopes to start offering clinics at other schools.

For up-to-date information on vaccine clinics at PPS visit this website: https://www.pps.net/covid-19vaccination

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