On July 29, the Biden administration announced a new initiative to increase vaccination rates of children and teens by hosting school-located vaccination clinics and called on local communities and pharmacies, many of whom received federal funding to expand vaccination efforts, to provide support to local schools as they host pop-up clinics.
With millions of children and teens heading back to school in the coming weeks coupled with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, efforts to address barriers to vaccinations such as hesitancy and access are critical to the health of students, their families and our local communities.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 33 percent of children and teens ages 12-15 have received one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, while only 25 percent are considered fully vaccinated. For teens ages 16-17, roughly 45 percent have received one shot while 37 percent are considered fully vaccinated.
Counties, which have assisted in the administration of more than 325 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and have worked with our state and federal partners to overcome hesitancy and access barriers, can assist schools in the following ways:
- Connect with all school districts in the county and offer to partner with them on pop-up vaccination sites
- Host sessions that guide schools and local health departments on how to run school-located vaccination sites
- Schedule public engagement sessions in your community to build vaccine confidence
- Track and report on school-located vaccination clinics
In addition to this initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with Made to Save, a national grassroots organization whose mission is to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine, launched the Back to School Week of Action which will take place from August 7-15. The campaign is a collaborative effort focused on school and campus-based COVID-19 vaccination drives for students, their families and the surrounding local communities.
As counties continue to serve on the frontlines of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, strong partnerships and collaboration between all levels of government, schools and our local communities is essential. For more information on local vaccination efforts, visit NACo’s COVID-19 Clearinghouse.
- Key Considerations for Counties in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plans
- The County Role in Vaccines
- How to Prioritize the Health and Safety of Students, School Personnel, and Families | U.S. Department of Education
- Return to School Roadmap | U.S. Department of Education