NYC public schools open vaccination drives to increase vaccinations among students


New York National Guard, Sgt. Sebastian Rothwyn | Flickr

Rachel Dalloo

New York City public schools mobilized vaccination sites for students to receive the PfizerBioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the shot as emergency use for children ages 5 through 11 in late October.

“The FDA is committed to making decisions that are guided by science that the public and healthcare community can trust,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in an FDA press release.

“We are confident in the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing data behind this authorization. As part of our commitment to transparency around our decision-making, which included our public advisory committee meeting earlier this week, we have posted documents today supporting our decision and additional information detailing our evaluation of the data will be posted soon. We hope this information helps build confidence of parents who are deciding whether to have their children vaccinated.”

The Pfizer vaccine will be administered by trained professionals at approximately more than 1,000 sites in public schools across the city. Following the current mandate, there is no appointment necessary in order to receive the vaccination, as stated by CBS 2 New York.

As the vaccine rollout expands to include the city’s youngest, parents are gradually welcoming the idea of their children receiving the vaccine as well.

“As our older children got vaccinated, adults got vaccinated. I think the parents of our younger children are feeling a lot more comfortable,” former NYC Public Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said.

Some public school vaccination sites quickly ran into conflict with  its limited supply, causing some parents to feel upset.

“I just don’t understand why they would have taken this approach,” parent Michele Walsh told the New York Daily News. “If they had just given us numbers and told us how many they had, the kids could’ve been in school instead of waiting outside.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the vaccine shortage at public schools, stating that shipments were delayed at roughly four schools, causing long lines at sites located in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“We laid in supply and staffing for the amount of demand we expected,” de Blasio said. “If we’re seeing more demand, well, that’s a good thing, but we got to catch up with it quickly.”

Over 17,000 children aged 5 to 11 have now received at least one dose shortly after the vaccination drive at public schools.

Roughly three full months into the academic school year, almost 10,000 students have tested positive for the coronavirus, with more than 3,000 classroom closures, according to recent NYC data.

Mayor de Blasio’s administration is aiming to pass a legislation that would “grant private sector employees in New York City four hours of paid sick leave time to get their children vaccinated,” according to Gothamist. The four hours will go toward each individual child and the vaccination appointment.

The mayor also announced that families who have their kids vaccinated are eligible to get a $100 debit card.