Detroit Launches Vaccine Program for Students
As a result of a new partnership, the Detroit Public Schools Community District will become the first school system in Michigan to be fully authorized to administer COVID-19 immunizations.
The partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan’s Racial Disparities Task Force, and the Detroit Health Department will enable school nurses in the district to administer COVID-19 immunizations at 107 new vaccine sites at schools located in every area of the city.
The initiative is designed to remove barriers by providing access to families in their own school. In addition, by having school-based nurses administer the vaccines, it is hoped that families will feel comfortable knowing a trusted school-based nurse is onsite to administer the immunization dose. Federal relief funding enabled the school system to hire a nurse in every school.
According to Detroit Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, Detroit has a 4 percent childhood vaccine rate, 10 times less than other surrounding cities, which creates an increased chance of positive cases and outbreaks. “The significance of providing the vaccine directly to our families and students in their schools, will speed up the process of students resuming in-person learning permanently while continuing to implement the highest level of safety precautions,” said Vitti in a news release.
As part of the partnership, MDHHS is providing a $100,000 grant to help set up mobile vaccine clinics in the district. This funding will assist with staffing and materials needed to support vaccine clinics, such as vaccine storage and handling equipment, printed permission slips, posters and signage for the clinics, and supplemental educational materials provided to the parents.
To encourage vaccination, MDHHS is also providing $25 gift cards to CVS to each family with a child who participates in this vaccine program. More than 2,000 gift cards will be handed out while supplies last.
District officials hope to host first- and second-dose clinics in every school by the end of the school year in June. When the school vaccine program is fully implemented, the goal is to host 20 clinics per week.