Now that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children ages 5 to 11, two area school districts have quickly scheduled vaccination clinics.
Riverside Elementary School District 96 scheduled voluntary vaccination clinics after school at Ames Elementary School, 86 Southcote Road, on Nov. 9 and at Blythe Park School, 735 Leesley Road, on Nov. 15.
Students who attend a school in LaGrange-Brookfield School District 102 can get vaccinated at Park Junior High School, in LaGrange Park on Saturday, Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Parents have been eager to sign up their children to be vaccinated with most of the 400 spots available at Ames and Blythe Park schools quickly grabbed moments after the signup links were emailed to families on Nov. 3.
“We’re going to have [about] 200 kids at each spot,” said Riverside Elementary School District Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye.
District 102 is planning to offer shots to 400 students but Superintendent Kyle Schumacher said the number could be expanded if there is demand for it.
Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 and Komarek School District 94 are not hosting vaccination clinics. Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 has not yet responded to a question about its plans.
District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski said that since the vaccine for children is widely available at drug stores and through other health care providers, he didn’t see a need to do vaccinations onsite at school.
But Ryan-Toye said she thought getting students vaccinated at school would offer a more comfortable and less scary setting for young children.
“It is important that we remind parents that we realize that vaccines are not mandated for children, but we really feel the school provides an opportunity for families of young children to have a convenient, friendly, welcoming place to come and get a vaccine,” Ryan-Toye said. “So, we really do see this as a service to the community and an effort to encourage vaccination.”
Parents or guardians must grant permission for their children to be vaccinated and must be present when the vaccine is administered.
Children will receive a specially formulated version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is one-third the dosage that is given to adults. Two shots are required to be fully vaccinated and both District 96 and District 102 will host follow up clinics three weeks after the first doses are administered.
Ryan-Toye said any family living within District 96 boundaries that can obtain the signup link is eligible to sign up. In District 102 only children enrolled in the school district and the children of District 102 staff members will be eligible to get vaccinated at Park Junior High School.