MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Now that the final hurdle has been cleared to begin vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19, state and school officials are rolling out their plans. Governor Tim Walz says he wants to make it as easy as possible to vaccinate young children against the virus.
“We combine security, speed and fairness. And that takes the vaccines to where the kids are,” Walz said Thursday, “whether it’s their pharmacy, the Mall of America, whether it’s with their pediatrician, or whoever makes a lot of sense to a lot of us at their child’s school. .”
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued formal recommendations for children as young as 5 to begin receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday that Minnesota would start vaccinating children in this age group this week.
The state announced a new website on Wednesday, vax for kids, to help families schedule a vaccination and answer questions about the vaccine.
St. Paul Public Schools will offer two elementary school vaccination clinics starting this month.
“It’s really important that we spread information, that we encourage and support and really seek to break down some of the barriers that lead to the inequities that we’ve seen in COVID-19,” said Dr. Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools. “Today is a great day for us to celebrate.”
Como Park Elementary will offer the first doses on November 15, 22, and 29 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the second doses on December 6, 13, and 20 at the same time. Battle Creek Elementary will offer the first doses on Nov. 16, 23, and 30 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the second doses on Dec. 7, 14, and 21 during that time. Appointments are mandatory and can be made online by clicking here.
At the clinics, vaccines will be offered free of charge to anyone aged 5 and over. The district said people vaccinated at these sites are eligible for gift cards offered by Ramsey County.
Health officials say news of an approved Pfizer vaccine for elementary-aged children couldn’t come soon enough.
“It will also reduce disruption to in-person learning and the need to quarantine large numbers of students,” said Mary Langworthy, director of health and wellness at St. Paul Public Schools. “Appointments are required for all first dose clinics and can be made online through Ramsey County Public Health.”
The goal of these clinics is access and equity.
“In an equity mindset of an equity community, we need to make sure we remove barriers – things like language, transportation, access, insurance, immigration status “, Gothard said.
The district said it had about 17,000 students in the newly eligible age bracket. There are no doses available for this week.
According to the governor’s office, 94% of Minnesotans are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state has administered more than 7 million doses, including about 463,000 boosters.