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Low turnout for vaccine event at CPS high schools shows extent of vaccine hesitancy

Cincinnati Children’s had planned to vaccinate around 250 students. By the afternoon, they’d done just 50.
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools held clinics Friday to help students and their families get vaccinated against COVID-19. '

The vaccines were administered at Dater High School and Western Hills University High School.

This is the first time a vaccination clinic has been set up in a CPS high school, and the timing is more important than ever.

CPS students returned to in-person classroom learning in April, but some went back with concerns knowing the virus is still present. Getting the students vaccinated brings hope things will return to normal sooner.

Jennifer DeKlerk with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital says she’s pleased with Friday’s clinics.

“Summer school is going to be starting, and I think a lot of kids are going to be in summer school, and the need for summer school is going to be greater because of virtual [learning,] so this is really important that we get these kids vaccinated so that we can get them back into class,” DeKlerk said.

Still, the turnout wasn’t what many hoped. Cincinnati Children’s had planned to vaccinate around 250 students. By the afternoon, they had administered 50.

“I think there’s hesitancy everywhere,” DeKlerk said. “I think folks are just nervous, but I’m surprised that since it’s gone down to 16, we’re seeing a lot of the 16-year-olds and a lot of the parents waiting for it to drop to 12.”

DeKlerk refers to the FDA’s expected approval of the Pfizer vaccine for teens 12 and up next week.

She says they are planning to set up more clinics inside the schools in the future.

“The goal is certainly to get as many people vaccinated as possible to get these kids back in school hopefully by the fall,” DeKlerk said. “I think we’ll still be doing this come fall, but hopefully we can get a head start on it.”

Cincinnati Children’s will be back at Western Hills High School in four weeks for the students’ second shots. Everyone is welcome to get vaccinated at the school; you do not have to be a student.

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