Chicago Public Schools will be closed on Nov. 12 for Vaccination Day, but we hope the event is just the beginning of doing more to help vaccinate as many students as possible.
It looks like COVID-19 will be with us long term. Therefore, we are urging the district to make long-term plans to continue to host vaccination clinics, especially in communities where vaccination rates are lagging.
CPS’s decision to cancel classes on Friday so that families have time to get their children vaccinated is commendable, despite skeptics saying the day off was announced to cover up expected staff shortages after the Veterans Day holiday.
We agree with CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, who said at a news conference with city health officials on Tuesday that vaccination awareness day is “an investment for the rest of the school year.”
This weekend is a critical time to get children fully vaccinated for the upcoming holidays, when there could be major spikes in coronavirus cases.
CPS already has plans, including four regional clinics — in Roosevelt, Clark, Richards and Chicago Vocational High Schools — plus six mobile “events” in other schools, including Kenwood Academy and Cesar Chavez.
Also, according to Martinez, 13 of the district’s school-based clinics will offer pediatric vaccines.
CPS should continue to expand vaccination efforts by increasing the number of vaccination clinics to schools across the city. Martinez said the district will have more than “100 different vaccination events” in November and December. There is a lot of precedent: Long before COVID-19, CPS students were receiving immunizations in school.
Think New York City, where public schools began offering vaccinations to children ages 5 to 11 in city-run clinics set up in schools. The initial demand there was so great that supply problems and delayed shipments did not stand a chance for some children. But on Tuesday, the city’s mayor praised the program’s success, saying 4,500 children had received their COVID-19 injections.
A day off for awareness is a step in the right direction. More options for vaccination would be another good step.
Send letters to [email protected]