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Tanana Valley Clinic hosts first youth vaccine clinic with more to come

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Tanana Valley Clinic has hosted its first youth vaccine clinic on Saturday May 15th, and has more planned for the future.

With the approval of the use of the Pfizer vaccine on children ages 12 and older, youth vaccination efforts in Fairbanks have begun in full swing.

According to Dr. Mishelle Nace, Pediatric Medical Director for Tanana Valley Clinic, the clinic was ready to go the instant the FDA and CDC approved vaccines for youth. Nace explained, “We actually started planning before we got approval from the FDA and the CDC. We were hoping that right when we got the word, we’d be good to go -so we were already taking appointments and the clinic filled up with those 12 to 15, and their parents and family members also. We had our gear ready, our team ready, [and] our goal was to make this as seamless as possible so people could come in and be able to get their vaccine smoothly and also have a little fun.”

Dr. Nace went on to describe how the youth clinic provided fun amenities for the children and their families who received their vaccines. “In addition we had a couple things to help kids who might be a little bit more nervous. We had support dogs there... some kids opted to get their vaccine while also having a support pet in there and so we had that. The State of Alaska provided us with some ‘Sleeves Up’ goodies like frisbees and sunglasses and stickers and stuff that kids could have when they were done. But the biggest hit of the day was the ice cream truck where it said ‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Vaccine’ and that was a huge hit. So, although we were able to give out about 207 vaccines, we gave out even more ice cream.”

The next clinic will take place on Saturday, May 22nd at the Tanana Valley Clinic. Appointments can be made at by contacting the pediatric department at (907) 459-3520, but walk-ins are also available.

There are several resources for residents to learn about future vaccination events or even have vaccinations brought to them.

“They are now doing referral forms, so businesses and agencies or groups can say ‘We’d like you to come to our group meeting. Can you vaccinate us here?’ So they just have to go to this website and say ‘I’m interested, here’s how many people I have,’ and we’ll have mobile vaccine clinics that can come and try to help people and meet them where they are. We’re finding that more people are getting vaccinated if we come and take some of the barriers away, and one of those barriers is to actually bring it to them,” Dr. Nace said.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Facebook page provides a calendar for future vaccination events across the state. There is a Facebook page that has the dates of vaccination events in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and a website for businesses and organizations to schedule mobile vaccination clinics to be brought to them.

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