Beginning Monday, students ages 16 and older in the San Diego Unified School District will be able to get vaccinated on campus.
“I'm really happy that, like, it’s just down the street, I can get vaccinated now,” said Hoover High School senior, Evelyn Arcer.
Arcer plans to get her vaccine on Monday, during the first of Hoover High’s two-day vaccine clinics.
“I just want to visit my grandparents this summer. I want them to feel safe, I want to travel safely. And just in general, I feel like my community would be better off if I was vaccinated," she said.
Doctor Howard Taras, UCSD professor and pediatrician who has been advising the district during the pandemic said, “If we want to make sure students get the vaccine, probably the best way to do that is to bring it to them, instead of having them go somewhere else.”
UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare will offer the vaccines at eight schools in the district to students 16 years and older and to residents in the community.
Hoover High School senior Aalyah Arroyo was one of the first students to take park in Hoover’s walk-in clinic. She went with her dad. She said what made it possible was convenience.
“I don't have to find a ride, to go out of the way to find a vaccine. I live ten minutes away from here I can just walk here," Arroyo said.
“There's been a lot of tragedy in City Heights because of COVID-19,” said Hoover High School principal Jason Babineau who said access has not been easy for those in the community. “So to be able to say that we are offering this at Hoover High School, a place that is familiar, a place that is trusted, it makes all the difference to ensure that we're able to get this vaccine out to everybody who wants it.”
Arcer said there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy. She is hoping having a clinic close to home will help encourage people to get vaccinated.
“I think once they see that a lot of us are doing it, and it makes Covid cases go down, it’s going to encourage them to get vaccinated," she said.
This comes on the same day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old. THe CDC must next finalize the approval. Then, the state and county would dictate when distribution would be allowed.
“I think if the vaccine supply is ample and it looks like all the people at higher risk have received it, they may go ahead very early on, after the approval,” said Taras.
Will the district be able and ready to accommodate the younger group?
“What I can say to that is if the age deadline moves and if younger kids can get it, we will be ready to pivot," Babineau said.
UCSD and Sharp HealthCare are offering the vaccines.
Besides Hoover High, the schools hosting the clinics are Morse High School, Lincoln Senior High School, Crawford Senior High School, San Diego High School, Kearny Senior High School, Clairemont High School, Canyon Hills High School-- formerly Serra High.
The walk-up clinics run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Anyone younger than 18 needs a parent consent form. Otherwise, there is no appointment necessary.