NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Good news for New Haven high schoolers – the city has opened a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Regional Career High School.
High schoolers returned to the classroom last week after over a year of remote learning. Now that the state has made everyone 16-years-old and up eligible for the COVID vaccine, Elm City school and health department leaders are working together to get the student population vaccinated.
The city’s Health Director Maritza Bond says the vaccine clinic will begin at Career High School Monday morning and run through Friday. According to Dir. Bond, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be made available at the clinic. About 450 people per day will be able to get vaccinated.
“We’re able to ensure that we do now have potential clusters of cases happening at this level because, as many know, a lot of our cases start at the adolescent age to young adults,” Dir. Bond said.
This week marks April break for New Haven public schools. City leaders say this youth vaccination effort has been a collaborative effort between the city and the state. About 1,100 total Pfizer vaccines are being given to the city for this week’s clinic.
Dir. Bond says this is a public health milestone to see the progress and the opportunities now afforded to get the vaccine.
“This response effort has been significant for us as a city in ensuring we’ve been inclusive in terms of working with the Board of Ed and our other partners but in particular for school re-openings…We wanted to make sure that vaccinations were also afforded to young people that are willing to be vaccinated so we’re just excited that we were able to get the support from the Department of Public Health to be able to have the Pfizer vaccines available for those 16 and up.”
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says, as a city leader and parent, seeing this opportunity come to pass is a step in the right direction in getting past what has been a tumultuous year.
“We can see and feel the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I hope that people have some normalcy right? To have some of those things that they’ve been looking forward to for years and years to have that be their experience over the next couple of months…By getting vaccinated, you’re not only keeping yourself safe but so many other people. If we don’t get to herd immunity, with so many people getting vaccinated, we’re going to have lots more problems.”
Hopefully ending the latter part of the school year on a high note: “It’s just really a testament of communities coming together and increasing accessibility to communities that need it most,” the mayor added.
Monday, students were not the only ones getting vaccinated at Career High School. Adult members of the public were also being offered the shot – which is why the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses were also offered.
”We have about eleven hundred vaccines that were allocated to us to be able to ensure that we had enough vaccine for our youth,” Dr. Bond explained.
One of those youths is students Derick Brown. He had a special vaccine experience Monday when his mother administered the shot.
Lisa Streeks, Derick’s mom and a New Haven Public School nurse told News 8, “I’m excited and calm because he just turned 16 a couple of days ago and that was his first request. He said, ‘Mom, I need to get my vaccine.’ So, I had him sign up and come in right away.”
“I usually sit around online all day, it’s not good for me. I’d rather be in school,” Derick said.
You can call 877-918-2224 to sign up for the Career High School clinic this week. Parents not yet vaccinated are welcome to go with their high schooler to get a vaccine.