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Cedar Rapids, Iowa City high schools offering coronavirus vaccines to students 16 and over
Second dose coming June 2 and 3.
Beginning this month, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City high schools are offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to students 16 years and older.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District is holding its first vaccine clinic for students Wednesday and Thursday at Kennedy, Jefferson, Washington and Metro high schools. The second dose of the vaccine will be offered June 2 and June 3.
Wilsee Kollie, 17, a Kennedy High junior, said she definitely plans to get vaccinated. Wilsee has been enrolled in online learning this year and she hopes to be able to return to the classroom her senior year as more people get vaccinated.
“The vaccine will ensure me safety, and the health and safety of others as well,” she said.
Wilsee, who said she deals with respiratory problems, said the beginning of the pandemic was especially scary for her as she learned about how COVID-19 affects breathing.
Combining getting vaccinated with continuing to wear a mask and social distance will help bring an end to spread of the coronavirus, she said.
Although Wilsee said some people worry about feeling sick after getting the vaccine, she said “it’s a short-term feeling compared to the long-term health complications” of possibly getting sick with COVID-19.
The Iowa City Community School District held its first vaccine clinic for students Friday. Vaccines were offered to students at City, Liberty, Tate and West high schools in partnership with Johnson County Public Health.
In both districts, students had to have a vaccine consent form completed and signed by a parent or guardian.
The timing of giving the vaccine will allow both districts to provide students with a second dose before the end of the school year.
Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for 16 and 17-year-olds. Pfizer is anticipating the Food and Drug Administration to soon approve the use of its vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Moderna currently is testing the use of its shots for 12 to 17-year-olds, and the results are expected this summer.
Sam Jarvis, community health division manager for Johnson County Public Health, said the vaccine clinics at schools are another “collaborative approach” toward making the community safer.
“Projects like these are more than just providing convenience, it’s keeping in mind that the pandemic still is going on, it’s demonstrating how important vaccination is to make our communities safer, and it’s an expression of empathy,” Jarvis said.
“We’re patiently waiting to hear if eligibility will be extended to those who are 12-15 years of age and hope that as soon as that happens, parents consider doing so. Vaccines are readily available at various sites and we hope that our community continues to take make progress forward.”
As of April 30, the last available data, the Cedar Rapids district reported six students being positive for COVID-19, and 10 in quarantine because of possible exposure.
As of Friday afternoon, the Iowa City district was reporting 63 students presumed or confirmed positive for COVID-19. One hundred and five students were in quarantine from exposure.
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