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Jackson-Via Elementary hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinic for newly-eligible kids

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 10:43 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The long-awaited approval of COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5-11 is done. Now, the attention shifts to giving the shots.

Monday, the first joint Blue Ridge Health District-Charlottesville City Schools vaccine clinic specifically for that younger age group was held at Jackson-Via Elementary School.

It was a day months in the making, and one that many people had been hoping would come. The main words tossed around during the event were “excitement” and “relief”.

More than 50 children received lollipops, stickers, and - most importantly - their COVID-19 vaccines.

“We really want to make it easy and fun, if there is such a thing for vaccinating,” said Jen Fleisher, the COVID-19 vaccine project manager for the Blue Ridge Health District, “and entice the kids to come and make it a good experience for them.”

The drive-through clinic, hosted at Jackson-Via due to its easy-access roundabout, was a step toward a return to pre-COVID school traditions, though the school district is still keeping all of its mitigation strategies in place since not all of its students are eligible for the vaccine.

“Hopefully at some point we’ll be getting rid of masks, and we’ll feel like the students can be together without worrying about the distance between them,” said Beth Baptist, Charlottesville City Schools’ Interim Director of Student Services and Achievement and Human Resources. “We can maybe get back to field trips that we haven’t been able to do.”

Baptist said bringing the clinics to schools is part of making the vaccine more accessible.

“[These clinics are important] for those who do want to have the vaccination, to make it easier for them, so that they can get it done with less time away from work or whatever problems they might have or barriers,” she said.

In the coming weeks, the partnership between CCS and BRHD plans to bring the shot to more schools. To stay up to date on those events, you can visit this webpage.

The clinics are sure to excite plenty of parents, teachers, and principals, including Jackson-Via’s own Justin Malone.

“The notion of connections and the reassurance of safety and being able to have those direct relationships with our students and our community, and being able to show it and express it in real genuine ways is the biggest thing that we can do under these circumstances,” he said. “So being able to continue to do that, and do it with a sense of assuredness and a sense of increased health? That’s significant for us.”

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