As the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for younger children, several elementary schools around the United States are all set to offer the vaccine doses. Educators and experts believe that it is the only way to keep students learning in person and make the experience of the classroom as it was two years ago.
Schools Play A Key Role In Promoting Vaccines For Young Children
Many district leaders believe that administering vaccines on campus under the supervision of trusted school staff will improve its access and help in overcoming vaccine hesitancy, especially in communities where vaccination rates are persistently low. Still, many schools do not support this practice of offering up campuses for vaccine sites for the fear of receiving pushback.
After the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a green signal to vaccines, over 250 families signed up for COVID-19 vaccines at Minnesota’s elementary schools. John Magas, the superintendent, calls vaccines game-changers. Magas said that this provides us with an opportunity to move from pandemic to endemic.
The federal government plans to write a letter to elementary schools in the US next week, requesting them to offer their campus clinics. The Department of education is also requesting academies to offer webinars and town halls at which parents can discuss vaccines and the virus with doctors.
A senior advisor of the education department, Hayley Meadvin said that many districts are planning to or have already held clinics for young kids. Meadvin said that there are several points of access and there isn’t any wrong door. Families can turn to other sites, clinics and doctors if schools do not choose to host clinics.
Some school districts in Ohio offered clinics for older children, but the Ohio School Boards Association’s director, Rick Lewis said they have not heard about the practice being applied for younger children. He said that the CDC encourages that districts should consider some factors like required community support and local needs.
Many vaccines drive carried out by schools in Ohio have faced protests and pushbacks and opponents say they will continue to pressure as this drive shifts to younger kids.
Mainers for Health and Parental Rights’ representative, Sarah Kenney argues that it is not fine for schools to get involved or even discuss vaccination issues with children. She is worried about its potential side effects and newness.
A study carried out by Pfizer on 2,268 kids found that its vaccine is 91% effective for preventing coronavirus infection. The Food and Drug Administration observed 3,100 kids who were vaccinated and concluded that the vaccine is safe.
Kenney also expressed her concern about the stigma that follows kids who are not vaccinated. She said that these personal decisions and conversations have been difficult enough and we should not put them on our kids.
Before children get vaccinated, parents must give them authorization. The vaccines are mostly given before or after school in cooperation with government health officials and local hospitals.
The United States’ third-largest district, Chicago, canceled its schools on 12th November in order to give an opportunity to parents to get their kids vaccinated through a school-based site or medical providers.
In Oregon’s Portland, vaccines will be provided in eight elementary schools beginning next week in areas of high poverty where families face barriers like transportation and access to healthcare, said Guadalupe Guerrero, its superintendent.
After California mandated Vaccines for its children, Portland is thinking the same. A recent meeting of the education board discussed the possibility but was disrupted by a crowd of protesters. For this reason, from now on security will be present at clinics offering vaccination and their date and time will not be declared outside the community, said government relations director of the district, Courtney Westling.
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