Schools plan COVID-19 vaccination events for 5 to 11-year-olds

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health is relying heavily on help from school system to aid in vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds.

With that final approval given earlier this week, some schools in Central Virginia are setting up vaccination events in the near future.

Henrico County Public Schools’ vaccination efforts for 5-to 11-year-olds kick off Nov. 13 at Fairfield Middle School. The hope is to get as many of these young learners as possible vaccinated ahead of the winter break.

“I would love for us to be able to reach the 75% or better immunization for our elementary school age,” said Henrico Schools Health Services Supervisor Robin Gilbert. “We’ve been successful in getting kind of close to that for our middle school and high school kids, as well as our staff members.”

Gilbert said vaccinations and wearing masks are what will make the difference in preventing COVID-19 from spreading.

Since Sept. 1, Henrico Schools has had nearly 1,000 positive cases; more than half were elementary students.

“Our kids have missed a lot of instruction over the last 18 months to two years,” Gilbert said. “We’re so happy to have them back in face to face instruction and want to keep them there.”

School leaders hope to do that through vaccinations among 5-11 year-olds.

Henrico Schools will hold four vaccination events - two for first doses and two for second doses, over the next five weeks.

  • Nov. 13 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Fairfield Middle School (first dose)
  • Nov. 20 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Elko Middle School (first dose)
  • Dec. 4 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Fairfield Middle School (second dose for Nov. 13 vaccinations)
  • Dec. 11 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Elko Middle School (second dose for Nov. 20 vaccinations)

“I have seen parents out there who are really ready for this and have been anxiously awaiting this day,” Gilbert said. “I understand there are some who do still have some concerns; those side effects would be mild and short lived.”

Children ages 5-11 will receive 1/3 the dose an adult gets. Any possible side effects are why these events are being held on a Saturday, so kids can recover on Sunday and be back on Monday.

Meanwhile, there have been questions from parents about what to do if your child is 11-years-old and turning 12 soon; should they receive the smaller dose, or the 12+ dosage?

“I’ve had parents who, prior to us getting this approval, have had kids right on the edge of being able to get that immunization and they do have that exposure and have to go into quarantine,” Gilbert said. “The sooner we can get our population, our community as whole, vaccinated, the sooner we’ll be able to move forward with this; the better off we’ll be to keep our kids in instruction.”

However, if parents are still unsure, there is an event set for Monday, Nov. 8 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to calm those concerns.

“We’re calling that Doses with Danny,” Gilbert said. “So, Dr. Avula, who has been in charge of the state’s immunization project, will be partnering up with Henrico County. We’re going to have a panel to answer questions.”

That discussion will be held virtually. More information can be found here.

Meanwhile, to take part in the vaccination efforts via Henrico Schools, families must register in advance by signing up online here or calling 804-205-3501 to make an appointment. You will have to select “Pfizer” as the shot your child plans to receive.

Meanwhile, Hanover County Public Schools are holding similar vaccine clinics. The first one is Monday, Nov. 8 at Laurel Meadow Elementary School from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Hopewell City Public Schools is holding one on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hopewell High School.

Richmond Public Schools is also offering vaccinations on the same days as Henrico Schools, but at different locations.

Chesterfield County Public Schools have not announced any kind of vaccine clinic in schools, but children can get the shot at the Community Vaccination Center in the Rockwood Shopping Center along Hull Street Road.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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