Chicago schools cancel class for COVID-19 ‘Vaccine Awareness Day’

Chicago schools cancel class for COVID-19 ‘Vaccine Awareness Day’

Chicago Public Schools declared a day off for students ages 5 to 11 to get their COVID-19 shots. But little notice and the fact the vaccines were just approved for younger children mean parents face challenges to actually getting shots for their kids.

Chicago Public Schools are canceling classes Nov. 12, encouraging parents and students to use the day off to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maybe in-school vaccination clinics at a later date would be more effective than giving parents a week’s notice that they needed to arrange child care or take off work to seek shots that are not yet widely available for the younger children?

“CVS can’t take all the Chicago Public Schools kids in one day,” said Karen Jakacki Gonzales of Jefferson Park, who has two kids in CPS elementary schools. “If CPS had offered on-campus vaccine clinics, it could have better served the students rather than being like, ‘Hey, we’re giving you a day off to go find a vaccine that’s in limited supply that your family, if you get an appointment, may have to travel a considerable distance to go get to that appointment.”

CVS currently doesn’t offer appointments for kids ages 5-11 as they just became eligible Nov. 2 to get their COVID-19 shots. Walgreens doesn’t have any appointments available until Nov. 15, after CPS students’ day off.

And good luck getting in to a pediatrician with a week’s notice, plus competing with other Chicago youngsters seeking shots on that same day.

New York City’s public schools are offering shots on-campus during their vaccination day next week.

“Vaccination Awareness Day on Friday, Nov. 12, is an opportunity for parents and guardians to take their children five years of age and older to get vaccinated at their pediatrician’s office, at a health care provider, or at a CPS school-based site or community vaccination event,” said Pedro Martinez, CPS CEO.

According to city data, nearly 60% of Chicago children ages 12-17 are vaccinated. That group’s been eligible for vaccination since the spring.

In addition to Vaccination Awareness Day, CPS had no class Nov. 5 for an institute day, no class Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, and three more days off for Thanksgiving.

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