Crater Health District seeks feedback for student vaccination interest

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - The Crater Health District is planning ahead as Pfizer moves forward with seeking FDA approval for vaccinating children against COVID-19.

A survey was pushed out recently seeking interest in student vaccinations.

On Wednesday, the Petersburg School Board approved a plan to bring students back into the classroom five days per week this fall. Now, the school system is encouraging families to take the survey to find out how many of them would like to get their children vaccinated.

“We want to keep them in school and keep them as safe as possible,” said Crater Health District Deputy Epidemiologist Courtney Ayers.

In addition to COVID-19 safety measures, it may also come in the form of vaccinations for students.

Pfizer hopes to get FDA approval this month to vaccinate kids 12 and older. That is why the Crater Health District created a student vaccination interest form.

“We’re using the survey to help plan how much vaccine we need to allocate to each school district and each school,” Ayers said.

Several school systems in the health district, including Dinwiddie and Petersburg, have already pushed it out to families.

“We have used the phrase ‘it’s a personal choice’ as to whether or not you want to take the vaccine,” said Petersburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin.

Health leaders understand there is hesitancy out there right now about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It is why the survey also has a “maybe” option.

“So, people who are kind of on the fence, I would rather them put ‘maybe’ so we can plan for a buffer of how many people are on the fence... who may turn to yeses that we need to vaccinate,” Ayers said.

“I think many parents will use the summer to give it more thought as we head into next school year,” Pitre-Martin said.

Whatever decision families decide to make, Petersburg High School will be ready.

“They have a fully functioning clinic right there at Petersburg High School - so that’s a plus for us!” Pitre-Martin said.

The Crimson Clinic is run by the non-profit Central Virginia Health Services (CVHS). Earlier this year, staff was able to vaccinate faculty and staff for Petersburg Schools at six different clinics at the school.

Now, the hope is to do the same for students if the FDA gives approval for the Pfizer vaccine.

“They know their kids well and we want this to be a partnership,” Ayers said.

“I just think it would make it even easier to access for our students having it right there in the school,” Pitre-Martin said.

The following school systems or private schools are in the Crater Health District:

  • Dinwiddie County Public Schools
  • Greensville Public Schools
  • Hopewell City Public Schools
  • Petersburg City Public Schools
  • Prince George County Public Schools
  • Surry County Public Schools
  • Sussex County Public Schools
  • Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
  • BREC Academy/Specialized Youth Services of Virginia, Inc.
  • St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Rivermont School – Greater Petersburg
  • The LEAD Center
  • Tidewater Academy

To fill out the survey, click here. The deadline to complete the interest form is May 14.

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