Paterson’s city education officials launched student vaccination clinics at 11 schools on Monday, with an emphasis on increasing vaccine rates among children ages 5 through 11.
“Children are being given permission slips to take home for their parents to sign concerning receiving the vaccination shots,” Schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer said. “We believe that improving the vaccination rate makes our schools safer.”
Vaccinations will be made available from 1 to 6 p.m., district spokesperson Paul Brubaker said. Schools have been chosen on the basis of their accessibility to Paterson families and their capacity to host a vaccination site.
The 11 participating schools are International High School, Eastside High School, Dr. Hani Awadallah School, Harp Academy, and Schools 4, 9, 21, 24, 26, 27 and 28.
Children who do not attend one of the schools that are providing vaccinations may go to any of the ones that are doing so to receive the immunization, officials said.
Officials announced the initiatives on Monday at School 28. Kenese Robinson from the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health of the New Jersey Department of Health said her office is presently stepping up the outreach to encourage parents to have their children immunized. Students will be administered the Pzifer pediatric doses.
According to district representatives, 29% of Paterson public school children ages 11 and younger have been vaccinated. Officials said the rate for students between ages 12 and 17 now stands at 87%. Shafer said the current number of COVID-19 student cases in the district is about 10 per week.
Since last summer, about 160 school districts in New Jersey have hosted 720 in-school vaccination events, according to the state Health Department.
Shafer thanked Alisa Harrison, owner of the Broadway location of McDonald’s in Paterson, who continues to provide $10 vouchers for students who get fully vaccinated.
“The strongest tool by far is vaccination,” Varbaro said. The second and third are a tie between good ventilation and frequent testing—wearing a mask rounds out his list.
“Vaccinations have proven to be safe and effective and save lives,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said.