COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The effort to vaccinate students starts Tuesday in Franklin County thanks to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Nationwide has reached out to all 16 public school districts along with some private and charter schools. The hospital will bring clinics for students 16 years old and older into the schools, starting with Worthington and Westerville City school districts Tuesday.
“We want kids to be able to show up for school, to feel comfortable, and we want parents to feel that comfort as well,” said Tifini Ray, project manger for School Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The focus is back on schools when it comes to the vaccine, with Ray leading the charge when it comes to setting up and scheduling Franklin County schools for the very first student clinics.
“A vaccine clinic is huge,” Ray said. “It is a huge logistical set up and schools are already using every bit of space within their school building to keep students distanced and safe during the school day and so for them to make adjustments and do this is huge.”
The planning for this is still in the works. For example, Hilliard City Schools first dose clinic is scheduled for April 14 and will have 800 doses available. Canal Winchester is looking at April 23, with 400 shots available.
Reynoldsburg school district, on the other hand, is still waiting to firm up details.
“I’m hoping that we can get this off the ground next week,” said Reynoldsburg City Schools Superintendent Dr. Melvin Brown. “Tentatively, there were some dates shared this week that didn’t quite work out as we came back from spring break yesterday. We anticipated we wouldn’t be able to start any earlier than April 12.”
Brown said the clinics are a step in the right direction.
“For us, that’s roughly 1,700 students, something like that,” he said. “I’ll be even more excited about what happens after the fact as we continue and get younger and younger students vaccinated.”
Ray said scheduling the actual shots will be the school districts’ responsibility. For example, Hilliard plans to use a lottery system when it comes to the sign up.
One major requirement for all districts will be parental consent.
“Students who are 16 and older will need their parental consent and so there is a simple form that we have provided to schools, so I would tell parents to be on the lookout for that form if their schools are participating in the vaccine clinics,” Ray said.
Nationwide is getting the Pfizer vaccine for these clinics and is working to distribute it based on equitity.
The number of doses each week is dependent on health partnership allocations because the vaccine is coming from a variety of places.
Brown said he hopes this will make a difference for the start of the next school year.
“I’m looking forward to a five-day week with everybody doing what they typically do,” he said. “Hopefully, we get to an opening that looks like a typical opening.”
Nationwide is still finalizing information for clinics when it comes to all of the county’s school districts, suggesting parents keep an eye out for the consent form from your child’s school if you want to sign them up.