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    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald White | Following approval from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), Naval...... read more read more



    Story by Christina Johnson 

    Naval Medical Center - Portsmouth

    PORTSMOUTH, Va. (November 10, 2021) – Following approval from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) began providing the
    COVID-19 pediatric vaccination to children between the ages of five and eleven, Nov. 8.

    According to the CDC website, the move to vaccinate children was due to the COVID-19 data showing that about 10 percent of the COVID-19 cases for the week of Oct. 10 were those in this younger age group.

    “For our younger children, it can be difficult keeping the mask on them,” said Lt. Mariacristina Diaz, NMCP’s Immunization Clinic’s department head. “They can easily contract the virus and spread it. Getting vaccinated not only lessens the risk of them getting the virus and spreading it, but it can also lower the severity and impact if they do get sick.”

    Diaz also spoke on how this could help children get back to a somewhat normal life after almost two years of the worldwide pandemic. “This will hopefully lead to kids being able to go back to school and experience the social interactions with peers desperately needed in those critical early developmental stages,” said Diaz.

    With CDC approval also came the steps to make sure these children were getting the right doses, and the staff was prepared to administer the vaccine. “The vaccine itself can be pretty potent,” said Hospitalman Jessica Finn, an NMCP Immunization Clinic staff member. “So we have to reconstitute it before we give it to anyone, but especially children.”

    Reconstituting a vaccine is a process where the vaccine powder in one vial must be mixed with a liquid in another as prescribed which allows the body to properly process the vaccine.

    “The dose for patients twelve and above is 30 micrograms, while the dose for children five to eleven is 10 micrograms,” said Diaz. “So we have to be sure each dose is diluted properly.”

    With the goal of vaccinating this age group, there came a system of checks and balances to further ensure the safety of every NMCP beneficiary. “We developed a competency learning objective specifically for pediatric administration of the vaccine,” said Diaz. “This consisted of plenty of things, (such as) including a quiz at the end to prove the level of knowledge of everyone giving the shot was up to par and could identify the differences between the procedures for the two doses.”

    Diaz accepted the department head position shortly before the beginning of the pandemic, and said she has seen the continued excellence in care provided by her staff through some of the most trying times most people have ever seen.

    She stated that there is more to just putting shots in arms, and some may not understand the amount of time, before and after hours, it takes to keep everything running efficiently. “Safety is paramount, and I have full confidence in my team and their ability to perform safely and efficiently,” added Diaz. “There is no other way to describe them - they are true rock stars!”

    As the U.S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating military hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally-acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, along with the area's 10 branch health and TRICARE Prime Clinics, provide care for the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.



    Date Taken: 11.12.2021
    Date Posted: 11.18.2021 09:21
    Story ID: 409563
    Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US 

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