WILMINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday children 12 to 15 years old were eligible to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and by Thursday afternoon an on-site clinic was held for that age group at the Wilmington Middle School cafeteria.
About 102 students were registered, with parental consent, to receive the first dose of the vaccination Thursday. The recommended timing for the second dose is three weeks after the first shot, and though the school year will be over by then Wilmington City Schools (WCS) will open up its middle school building so students can go there and look forward to being fully vaccinated.
The quick turnaround between FDA authorization and the WCS clinic Thursday and a clinic at Blanchester schools on Friday is due to the Clinton County Health Department and school officials anticipating ahead of time that the 12- to 15-year-old age group would soon be vaccine eligible.
WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart noted an on-site clinic in the Wilmington High School auditeria already was scheduled for Thursday for 16- to 18-year-olds’ second shot. The health department was ready to pivot and administer first doses for those 12 and over in the adjoining middle school building.
“We’re just excited that we have the opportunity to do this so quickly, and that the health department was willing to work with us to make this happen to give the students an opportunity to get vaccinated here in the convenience of school while we’re here, and so we appreciate our health department,” McCarty-Stewart said.
Along with principals, a guidance counselor and the WCS restorative practices coordinator, McCarty-Stewart was on hand during the immunizations in a supportive manner.
Because the vaccine administration took place in a school-based clinic, the minors could be vaccinated without a parent or legal guardian being there. Several parents wanted to be present to accompany their child and so were there for the medical injection.
The mother of 12-year-old Isaiah Bankston said when she heard 12- to 15-year-olds were now eligible, she thought, “Yay, he [Isaiah] made the cut-off.”
She said there’s a family custom to follow up vaccinations with a banana split, adding that the tasty tradition would again be observed.
On April 22 at Wilmington High School, 33 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered to students 16 and over. McCarty-Stewart said Thursday that the WHS vaccination rate is hard to tell because a lot of the high schoolers decided to get vaccinated on their own off-site.
Next Wednesday, May 19 the Clinton County Health Department will hold an on-site school vaccination clinic at Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.