COVID-19 drive-thru ‘Mass Vax’ kids’ clinic held at Oaks Park

Here’s why many outer East Portland families took their kids to Oaks Amusement Park after the rides closed for the year, in the first weekend in November

With the Oaks Amusement Park Adrenaline Peak roller coaster in the background, another family – this one from the Lents neighborhood – signs in at the pediatric mass COVID-19 vaccination drive-through clinic.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although historic, non-profit Oaks Amusement Park had just closed for the season, their southern gate was open and large canopies were set up in the parking lot, November 5th through 7th.

This was the setting for the first “pediatric mass COVID-19 vaccination drive-through clinic” to be held in our area.

As each family pull in, Certified Medical Assistant Glenda Flygare draws up the injection to be given.

“We at Sellwood Medical Clinic are super excited to offer this to our community,” said their CEO, Lisa Whitlock, at the event. “Oaks Park has been a phenomenal partner in facilitating our ability to provide this service.

“The idea to do this came up because we have a large pediatric population that we serve,” Whitlock told East Portland News on the first day of the drive-by vaccinations. “We were looking for ways of serving more people and families than we could possibly do in our own back parking lot; so I reached out to Oaks Amusement Park, and they responded, ‘yes, absolutely’ to our request.”

A bit of concern shows on the face of Cooper Sabom when he sees the syringe, but he takes his injection without incident from a clinic manager, Jody Varn.

Their allocations of the newly-approved pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, via the State of Oregon, were minimal, Whitlock conceded; but with their allotment the drive-through clinic gave 1,200 shots to kids over the three days.

‘Sold-out’ in minutes
Being set up to give about 25 shots every 20 minutes, they first opened slots for appointments for Friday, November 5; those were snatched up in minutes. They waited a few minutes before opening more appointment availabilities for Saturday and Sunday. “Amazingly, all 1,200 spots filled in less than 45 minutes!” Whitlock exclaimed.

They’re having this clinic as a service to the community, says Sellwood Medical Clinic co-owners Monique Pritchard MD, and CEO Lisa Whitlock.

“This is important from a medical standpoint, because the more kids – ages five through 11 – that we can get vaccinated, the more we can lower the overall cases, and lower the severity of the illness that’s being seen,” chimed in the clinic’s co-owner, pediatrician Monique Pritchard, MD.

“We want to see all kids back in school, and staying in school, without so much worry about exposure, because they’ve been vaccinated.”

Proudly showing off their adhesive bandages, like “medals of courage”, are Kennedy Cruse and Cameron Cruse, while their calm pooch Jackie looks on, bemused.

Overall, most of the kids bravely took the poke, and then their parents drove off into the “waiting lot” for a few minutes, to be checked out and sent on their way.

To learn more about the Sellwood Medical Clinic, and to check to see if more such drive-by vaccine clinic opportunities will become available, check their website: CLICK HERE.

>> On our Front Page: Sellwood Medical Clinic’s Certified Medical Assistant Jennifer Richey prepares to administer another pediatric COVID-19 vaccination to a youngster.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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