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Nation’s Big-City Public Schools Ramp Up Efforts to Vaccinate Students

June 10, 2021                                    CONTACT: Tonya Harris at                                                          

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 Nation's Big-City Public Ramp Up Efforts to Vaccinate Students

 Urban School Districts Heed White House Call to Hold Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics


WASHINGTON, June 10 – When the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for children ages 16 and older in December and then approved for use in 12-to-15-year-olds last month, urban school districts around the nation began taking proactive measures to vaccinate students and contain the spread of the virus.

Last week, White House Covid Response Coordinator Jeff Zients joined a Zoom call with urban school district superintendents from across the country and asked them to launch at least one school-based vaccine clinic in the month of June. Zients also told urban education leaders that the White House would match each district with a partner in the federal retail pharmacy program that can handle all logistical aspects.

Urban school districts are heeding the call, putting together voluntary efforts on their own, launching campaigns, mobile clinics and extensive outreach efforts to encourage students to get vaccinated. Already nearly 50 major urban school systems across the country are marshaling efforts to vaccinate more of America’s youth.  Examples include the following:

Detroit Public Schools Community District developed the Teens for Vaccines campaign to provide vaccine education and accessibility opportunities to COVID-19 vaccines for eligible students 12 and older. Led by district student ambassadors, the students are sharing their successful vaccination stories and how being vaccinated has allowed them to re-engage in social and extra-curricular activities.

Texas’ El Paso Independent School District held “Vaccinate Before You Graduate” clinics in May at its high schools for students ages 12 and up, and on the first day more than 200 students received the first of two COVID-19 vaccines.

Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, N.C., is using school buses to transport students (with parent permission) from high schools to the Greensboro Mass Vaccination site for their first and second vaccine doses. The district is also hosting weekday and weekend mobile clinics at several local schools, particularly in underserved neighborhoods and communities where vaccination rates have been lower. Athletic directors and coaches are also encouraging team visits to vaccination sites.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District partnered with the Cleveland Department of Public Health to host pop-up vaccine clinics in school buildings during the academic school year and will continue to conduct rolling clinics (offering both first and second doses) at district sites throughout the summer.

The Hawaii State Department of Education partnered with all major medical providers across seven islands with schools to host middle and high school vaccine hubs for students 12 and over, as well as their families, on secondary school campuses. The district is also engaging alumni from the high school health academies to assist at the vaccine hubs.

The Los Angeles Unified School District launched a school-based vaccination program for children ages 12 and up in May. Built on the success of its COVID-19 testing program and existing school-based vaccination sites, the district will deploy mobile vaccination teams to all middle and high school campuses over the next two weeks.

New York’s Rochester City School District has partnered with Walgreens and will be offering vaccine clinics at all school buildings. The school system has developed a plan that includes calling all families, sending letters from principals, using social media and recording a message from the superintendent to encourage families to get their child vaccinated.

“Urban school districts worked very hard to vaccinate teachers and staff and now they are doing the same for their students,” said Council Executive Director Michael Casserly. “Big-city school systems are in a particularly unique situation to help vaccinate students and educators know that the more students vaccinated, the easier it will be for districts to return to in-person learning five days a week in the fall. We look forward to working more with the White House to achieve this goal.”


Click here to read the vaccination efforts being undertaken in 51 Council-member school districts.

Click here to read the press release