As the possible approval of vaccinations for children under 12 looms over parents' minds, the Lake Oswego School District hosted an informational session Thursday, Oct. 28, to discuss COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11.
At the school board meeting Monday, Oct. 25, one parent shared concerns that the Thursday discussion would be too "one-sided" and proposed the event be replaced with a panel with multiple medical professionals that could share various perspectives.
However, the event was not altered and the discussion was led by Dr. Ryan Hassan, a pediatrician from Oregon Pediatrics in Happy Valley. He toured community members through common questions and concerns about vaccinating their children before opening it up to a Q&A session.
"I strongly recommend everyone get vaccinated, and get their kids vaccinated, but that's not my job to tell you what health decisions you should make for yourself and your family. My job is to help answer questions that you may have, and help you make the decision that you're comfortable with," Hassan said.
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During the first portion of the event, Hassan discussed why vaccinations are important to keeping communities safe, citing that although children have less of a chance of contracting COVID-19 than adults, they still are at risk of spreading the virus to susceptible community members.
"I'm a strong believer in prevention as the strongest, most important medicine. And vaccines are one of the most successful, if not the most successful, preventive medicines that we have," he said.
Once the workshop was opened to a question and answer period, some Lake Oswego parents voiced their concerns about vaccinations that led to the event pushing overtime.
"If this gets mandated, I'm yanking my kids out," said one parent.
Another parent brought up concerns that the vaccine only took ten months to create. Hassan said the vaccination was not a "rush job," citing that money was a large factor that helped create an effective vaccine so quickly.
One Lake Oswego community member shared that they have made the decision not to vaccinate their three children. They stated that there is data supporting that children are not at risk of the virus and that there is no long-term data of the security risks.
Hassan said that although an unvaccinated child has the same risk as a vaccinated person over 65, and likely would not experience as severe of symptoms when they are positive for COVID-19, it is a huge inconvenience due to the need to quarantine the family and the discomfort of side effects.
Once a child is vaccinated, the side effects are about the same as adults but they may experience less discomfort.
"The vaccine is really the way that we are going to eventually end this pandemic," Hassan said.
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