Elementary schools in Holladay and other GSD areas host vaccine clinicsDec 13, 2021 02:07PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Holladay school Oakwood Elementary was one of several GSD schools to host an after-school vaccine clinic for the whole family when the CDC approved a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. (Oakwood Elementary)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Beginning Nov. 8, the Granite School District teamed up with the Salt Lake County Health Department to make COVID-19 vaccines available to elementary-aged children by holding vaccine clinics in selected schools. This was just six days after the CDC officially recommended vaccinating children ages 5-11.
Superintendent Rich Nye was excited about offering the free vaccine clinics to children in the GSD communities. The district covers areas where getting access to health care can be a challenge. In addition, there are language barriers for many families who don’t speak English as their first language.
“We are very pleased to host these clinics in conjunction with the health department, and we hope our families take advantage of this opportunity,” Nye said. Holding free clinics at schools gives families a safe, familiar and convenient place to receive the vaccine. Flu clinics have also been offered at schools in the past.
The dosage, which is one-third that of the amount given to adults, was reported by the CDC as being nearly 91% effective in protecting children from serious disease or hospitalization from the COVID-19 virus.
It’s reported that children are less likely to suffer serious effects from the virus, and may even contract it without showing any symptoms. However, children are still able to spread the virus to those they come in contact with.
Caregivers, grandparents or immunocompromised family members and friends can be infected with the COVID-19 virus from asymptomatic children. They may suffer far more severe effects, including long COVID and death.
Though many of the clinics were offered in schools that are west of the Holladay and Millcreek areas, Moss Elementary in Millcreek had a clinic Nov. 18. Clinics were also held at Oakwood Elementary in Holladay Nov. 23 and Eastwood Elementary in east Millcreek Nov. 24.
Moss’s principal Lindsay Adams said that based on reports from the Health Department, the clinic held after school at their building was a “ginormous success.”
“It was very well attended, and the Health Department was prepared with whatever COVID shots were needed. They administered over 250 shots here, with over 150 of those being to children,” Adams said.
The Health Department was prepared to administer shots to any and all family members in whatever stage of vaccination they needed.
“They had every kind of shot you could get—different brands of first doses and second doses for adults, doses for children and boosters for adults. The Health Department got people in and out, they were very efficient. They did a fabulous job,” Adams said.
All the schools that hosted initial clinics will have a follow up three weeks later so people can get their second dose conveniently. A complete list is available at www.graniteschools.org/covid.vaccine-clinics.
“Our follow up day is Dec. 9, 3-7 p.m., and all the same things will be available,” Adams said.
With such a good turnout, one thing Adams requests is that those who come to the Dec. 9 clinic wait to use their parking lot until after 3:30 when school has let out and the buses have left. She said using the back entrance is best, which will lead people to the clinic in the gym and cafeteria.
Oakwood Elementary in Holladay had a clinic on Nov. 23 from 3-7 p.m. Principal Eric Bailey saw it as a great opportunity to offer vaccines to those in the community.
“We’re not in charge, we’re just a host site. But just like anybody at this time we’re happy to work with the Health Department and grateful to be able to host it to serve our community,” Bailey said.
Vaccines for children are not mandatory, and all students who come must have a parent or guardian with them who can sign the consent form.
“What we’ve done is sent out the information to our parents starting a couple weeks before the clinic date. We put in on the website and our social media account, and last time I met with the PTA I let them know about this great opportunity,” Bailey said.
Parents have strong opinions about the vaccine—both for and against—but Bailey said that’s not what the school’s clinic is about. “I haven’t heard feedback one way or the other, for or against,” Bailey said. “But for our community this is a great opportunity.”