Worcester Begins Drive to Hold 50 in-School Vaccine Clinics in 2 Weeks

Worcester Public Schools sent permission slips home to parents to sign last week so they could get these clinics up and running

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Nine-year-old Reagan Landers and dozens of others 5- to 11-year-old students at Worcester Public Schools were pulled out of class on Monday so they could get their first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

It's all part of Worcester's plan to hold 50 in-school vaccine clinics over the next two weeks.

"It means that now, if we go into our house, we know that it's a vaccinated house," Reagan said.

"It's a huge relief and it makes it a lot easier, so that I don't have to go and try to schedule appointments and stuff," said his mom, Lisa Landers.

Kids who get the COVID vaccine should be able to go maskless in school, says Dr. Alok Patel. "I can't wait to see those kids with their bright, smiling shining faces again," Patel says. He answers all our questions about the COVID vaccines being approved for administration to children.

Retired internist Dr. Manjul Shukla said she volunteered to help run the clinic at the Tatnuck Magnet School because she believes that the faster we can get the pediatric population vaccinated, the better it is for everyone.

"I think it's really helpful for the parents because going to a pediatrician's office, there's only so many available appointments, so if every kid needs to be vaccinated, they will be waiting for weeks or months to get appointment at a pediatrician," Shukla said.

Tatuck Principal Erin Dobson noted that "it also levels the playing field for all of our students across the city, so every student from across the city has access to the vaccine."

Federal health officials greenlighted the Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids 5-11 years of age, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising that all healthy kids in the age range get vaccinated. But parents still have a lot of questions, so Maria and Colton sat down with Mass General Hospital's Dr. Scott Hadland for the important details.

As a parent herself, Dobson said, she was thrilled to be able to get her son, a student at Tatuck, vaccinated as well.

"I think it will give him finally a sense of relief that he's getting vaccinated," said Dobson, "and he doesn't have to be so nervous anymore about getting COVID or spreading COVID."

All the kids who are being vaccinated in school got prior parental permission. The district sent permission slips home to parents to sign last week so they could get these clinics up and running.

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