Art projects make COVID-19 vaccinations fun at Tektronix

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Ethan Santosh Villoth, 8, playing with clay alongside CHAP volunteer Carla Schaffer after he got his COVID-19 vaccine.

Thursdays are special days at the COVID-19 vaccination and booster clinic at Tektronix in Beaverton. On Thursdays, a long, colorful table — covered in doodles, blobs of molding clay, markers, colored pencils and other  art supplies — awaits children after they brave their COVID-19 vaccination.

The Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP), a Portland-based nonprofit that brings art projects to children and families facing medical challenges, provides the activities table.

“The parents are grateful to have their child vaccinated, and the kids are happy they see we’re here after they have their jab,” said Maxine Hartswick, a hospital-based teaching artist at CHAP.

Before the pandemic, CHAP staff  visited hospitals and led art projects for children in person. These days, for safety reasons, they drop off supplies with hospitalized children and sit in a separate room where they lead art projects over a closed-circuit TV channel.

“We haven’t been able to interact with kids for two years,” Hartswick said. For the volunteers, this new program at the Tektronix vaccine clinic is “really exciting.”

And the kids love it, too, judging from the smiles on their faces during a recent visit. Hartswick even recalled one child asking his parent, “When can I come back for my second shot?”

Emma Santosh Villoth, 7, molding a unicorn with CHAP-provided clay after she got her COVID-19 vaccine.

After their 15-minute post-vaccination observation period, children also get to take home a packet of art supplies, including colored pencils, watercolors and clay. These Art Healing Packets are available to take from the Tektronix clinics every day they’re open, not only on  Thursdays.

CHAP is at Tektronix in Beaverton every Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. (2540 SW Alan Blumlein Way, Building 58). The Tektronix clinics run Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary, and all pediatric vaccines for kids of all ages are available.

Check out Oregon Health Authority’s frequently updated vaccination site blog for more information on COVID-19 vaccination clinics around Oregon.