Saturday, November 27, 2021

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School Clinics Boost COVID Vaccine Rates for VA Youth

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Thursday, September 30, 2021   

RICHMOND, Va. -- As schools in Virginia face staffing challenges due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Gov. Ralph Northam wants to get more eligible students vaccinated.

In Virginia, 63% of children ages 12 to 15 have received at least one shot. However, there are geographic disparities, both for kids and adults, in vaccination rates.

Among 12-to-15-year-olds in Alexandria, 98.5% are vaccinated, but only 17% in rural Highland and Patrick counties.

Francisco Durán, superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, said at a news conference this week by offering vaccine clinics at schools, they can do more to help fight the virus.

"As we're entering the third school year in the pandemic, it's very important that we put all the measures that we can in place to keep our students and staff safe, so that our students can remain in school," Durán asserted. "That is really much our priority in Arlington County."

The vaccine clinics are open during the school week and on weekends. Durán pointed out they are prepared to keep the clinics open when the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children age five and up.

Virginia's COVID Delta variant surge appears to be subsiding, but hospitalizations remain high. More than 2,000 COVID patients are in hospitals, and most are not vaccinated.

Dr. Michelle Albert, president-elect of the American Heart Association and a physician, said it is important to reach people exposed to misinformation about the vaccine by providing the facts through people they know.

"It is imperative that the public listens to trusted sources, and the trusted sources are the people that you go to when you are ill, and when you need sage advice and solid advice on personal matters," Albert contended.

Virginia ranks 14th among the states for its vaccination rate.

Disclosure: American Heart Association Mid Atlantic Affiliate contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, and Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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