With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming available to 16- and 17-year-olds next week, schools may work with health officials to schedule school-based vaccination clinics — though none have been scheduled thus far.
Battle Betts, health director for Albemarle Regional Health Services, said in an interview this week that school-based clinics could be a great strategy for getting the vaccine into the arms of students.
Betts noted that school-based vaccination clinics have been widely used in the past. For instance, he recalled a vaccination that everyone received at school when he was in sixth-grade.
He said ARHS had not yet talked to school leaders about the idea.
School officials also said that while the idea of school-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics might have merit, they have not discussed it yet.
“We have not discussed this as a district,” said Perquimans County Schools spokeswoman Michelle Maddox. “We will work with Albemarle Regional Health Services on whatever their needs may be as far as establishing vaccination clinics.”
Currituck County Schools Superintendent Matt Lutz said his district also has not discussed the topic yet. But he added Currituck would be glad to work with ARHS on exploring the idea of vaccination clinics at schools.
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools spokeswoman Tammy Sawyer said ECPPS also has not discussed COVID-19 vaccination clinics at schools.
Citing logistical concerns, Camden County Schools Chief Student Services Officer Ina Lane said the school district likely would not offer a COVID vaccination clinic for students.
“Parent consent paperwork and other logistics would make it very difficult to accomplish, especially as we are approaching the end of the school year,” Lane said. “I believe the Camden Health Department in conjunction with Albemarle Regional Health Services would be the better choice for students and parents who wish to get the COVID vaccine.”
While school districts ponder the idea of school-based vaccine clinics for older students, Vidant Health announced this week it had opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to everyone 16 and older. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 252-847-8000.