By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY — With last week’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five through eleven years old, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona are encouraging schools around the nation to “actively support the vaccination process for children in your schools and communities.”
A November 8 letter to school districts signed by both officials is asking local school districts direct involvement because schools are vital to informing the community and are trusted.
“Schools play a vital role in providing access to the vaccine and trusted information on it,” the letter states. “Parents listen to school leaders and personnel: according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from this summer, parents are approximately twice as likely to get their child vaccinated if their school provides information about the vaccine. We urge you to do all you can to help parents and families learn about the vaccine and get access to it.”
Specifically, the department heads are asking districts three “important requests.”
“First, we ask that all schools serving families of children ages five through eleven years old [set] up vaccination clinics on-site at school as feasible, or in dedicated sites in their communities,” the letter says.
“Second, we ask school leaders to reach out to all families with children ages five through eleven years old in their school communities to provide information from trusted sources about the vaccine, and to help them learn where they can get vaccinated. Third, we ask you to host community engagements on the COVID-19 vaccines with your parents and school communities, in partnership with local pediatricians and other trusted medical voices in your area,” the letter states.
The departments are also offering resources to assist school districts in informing their communities about child vaccinations through the website “We Can Do This.”
“As trusted partners in your communities, we ask that you do all that you can to help accelerate vaccination among school-age children,” the letter concludes.
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