Herndon Elementary hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinic, as FCPS prepares for future shots to kids under 12

Medical workers deliver COVID-19 shots to kids on Wednesday at Herndon Elementary School (staff photo by David Taube)

Mother Amalis Hernandez visited a COVID-19 vaccine clinic yesterday (Wednesday) with her family to get her 13-year-old daughter vaccinated after the teen spent all of last year studying remotely.

The clinic ran from 2 to 7 p.m. at Herndon Elementary School to provide Pfizer shots to visitors. It’s part of a push to get the final 25% of Fairfax County residents ages 12 to 17 to begin their vaccinations.

“It’s more of being protected,” Hernandez said, noting that the vaccine will reduce her daughter’s risks as she goes into ninth grade.

This was the latest in a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics that Fairfax County Public Schools and the Fairfax County Health Department have hosted over the summer as the school system gears up for five full days of in-person learning starting Aug. 23.

Tigist Semu visited the Herndon Elementary clinic with her three kids, who are going into the third, seventh, and eighth grades. In the spring, her oldest noted that shots were available, but they decided to wait until their out-of-state family’s experience with the vaccinations reassured them.

Student Diego Rauda, who is going into the 11th grade, also got a dose and said the shot felt like any other.

By 3:30 to 4 p.m., nearly 40 people had gotten shots at the clinic, according to Fairfax County public health nurse Kofo Williams.

FCPS is also preparing a public-private partnership to vaccinate as many as some 83,000 students under the age of 12 once a vaccine is authorized for that age group, according to school officials.

Trials are currently underway, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not issued any emergency use authorizations yet that would allow young children to get vaccinated.

“When the age drops from 12, we want to be right there to make it simple and easy for parents, with permission, to let their young kids come and get vaccinated,” said FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand, who stopped by the Herndon Elementary clinic.

Brabrand told Reston Now that the district will work with a company to deliver the shots in schools during and after the school day. FCPS declined to identify the company that will be involved in the effort.

Brabrand said the vaccine will be available for families that want it, and they are working to determine whether a parent will need to be present.

“We finished up last school year giving almost 5,000 kids their first dose,” Brabrand said. “We want to continue the solution to this pandemic to make sure all schools return in this country five days in person.”

FCPS is also requiring everyone to wear masks, even if they’re vaccinated, to counteract the delta variant and reassure staff and families of a safe return as 99.5% of students come back to school buildings, Brabrand said.

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