CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Public Health announced a new approach Wednesday to getting kids — and their families — vaccinated before school starts.
Officials with the nation’s third-largest school district plan to offer full in-person instruction in the fall and want to vaccinate as many students as possible before classes begin next month. District officials said they are “not in a position” to mandate COVID-19 vaccines but will ask families to submit COVID-19 vaccine documents as is the practice with other vaccinations.
Starting next week, the district will offer vaccines at three school sites for students and their families: Theodore Roosevelt High School in Albany Park, Chicago Vocational Career Academy in Avalon Park and Michele Clark High School in the city’s Austin neighborhood.
Through these three sites, it’s understood the district can administer up to 600 first-shot doses of the vaccine per week. Sites will open 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. daily, beginning on Monday.
“We know the vaccine is safe and effective. It went through all the clinical trials and all the approval processes. This is a life-saving vaccine we have,” said Dr. Jennifer Seo, Chief Medical Officer at Chicago Department of Public Health.
According to CDPH, more than 50,000 minors have already been vaccinated in the city. Some Chicago areas have been hit harder by COVID-19, however, so the initiative aims to improve access and quell fears about the shot.
“We have several other sites in addition to clinics and pharmacy providers where anyone can get vaccinated but the focus of these sites will be for CPS families, open to all CPS families,” Dr. Seo added.
The news follows a Chicago Teachers Union proposal, made public on Tuesday, that urged the district to work with health officials to get 80% of eligible students vaccinated ahead of October 1 through various methods, including school-based events and home-based visits.
Right now, kids over the age of 12 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and students over the age of 18 can also get a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
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