NJ to Use Schools to Give Kids COVID Vaccine
The push to get kids as young as five vaccinated against COVID in New Jersey will extend into Garden State schools.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says dozens of school-sponsored vaccination "events" will be held in the coming weeks.
Persichilli says the state has ordered 203,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and plans to distribute those vaccines to more than 230 sites across the state, including schools.
The state held a conference call with county superintendents to encourage school participation in vaccinating kids, and Persichilli says since that call, "The department has received an additional 51 requests for school endorsed vaccine events across 15 counties. This includes 28 planning to hold events this month."
Governor Phil Murphy applauded those school districts that are willing to sponsor vaccine events. "Opening up eligibility for our kids can be an absolute game-changer in our fight against COVID," Murphy said, "Especially in making our schools safer places."
However, parental consent is needed to vaccinate kids in New Jersey, and it's not clear how many will give it. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation Survey showed just a quarter of all parents said they would rush out to get their kids the jab. The majority in that survey said they prefer to wait and see.
The CDC is expected to grant authorization for the Pfizer COVID vaccine to be used in pediatric doses by the end of today.
If that happens, New Jersey could begin administering the shots as early as tomorrow.
The COVID vaccination is not currently required to attend school in New Jersey, but there has been talk of adding it to the list of required shots. Governor Murphy has signaled he would support such a move.
The push to vaccinate kids comes as New Jersey's rate of transmission has begun to increase again. At .96, the outbreak is technically still contracting, however, the r/t has been steadily increasing for over a week.
Counties that had been lowered by the CDC in terms of community transmission risk have also started to see an increase. Hunterdon County has been elevated back to the highest risk category after being downgraded by the CDC COVID data tracker website.