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MSD considers future vaccine clinics

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Vaccine clinic

A local resident receives a vaccine at a clinic held in January.

On the tails of a Sept. 19 announcement that Pfizer is seeking FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for those age five to 11, the McFarland School District is in talks to host a vaccine clinic for the newly-eligible.

The idea to host an on-site vaccine clinic was brought to the district by McFarland School Board Member Kate Green.

“I was a little bit surprised by our vaccination numbers that have been provided on the dashboard,” said Green. “I realize they might not be fully up to date, but it looks like we’ve got some work we could do to help get some more kids who are currently eligible for vaccinations vaccinated.”

A data dashboard on the district website shows that a total of 725 out of 1,307 McFarland students are currently vaccinated against COVID-19. That means a little over half of all district students are vaccinated, with 582 yet to receive the vaccine.

It is unclear what percentage of those 582 students are not yet eligible.

In a survey taken by school staff, 424 district employees said they have already received a COVID-19 vaccine. With a full staff count of 502, 84% are vaccinated, leaving 16% of staff unvaccinated.

The dashboard is updated every Friday at 3 p.m. and can be accessed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13FdPQeVysJf-Q8HQr_BMr_oNXBsnrrM8-l2nwX_relA/edit.

Green, a pediatric nurse practitioner, said a shortage in healthcare staff has made it difficult to host vaccine clinics at local medical offices.

“There’s a lot of staffing issues right now in the healthcare field and… it’s difficult right now to run some of these clinics in a healthcare setting,” she said. “If we have an opportunity to offer a vaccination clinic here in a school setting where parents may be able to sign consent forms and we can just do it during the school day, that would be a huge help for everyone.”

Interim Superintendent Wayne Anderson said that, pending approval of the Pfizer vaccine for ages five to 11, the district could likely host a vaccine clinic by Oct. 31, though he’s not sure which specific age groups the district would hold the clinic for.

“I don’t know that holding [a clinic] for ages 12 and up would be worthwhile. We’ve held that already,” he said. “I think we would plan one in the building for ages five to 11.”

The district held a vaccine clinic for students aged 12 and up at the end of last school year, when that age group was newly eligible. Director of Student Services Lauren Arango said vaccine availability was low then, and will likely be low again once a new group is deemed eligible.

She said the district’s ability to host another clinic will depend on vaccine supply.

“I don’t think it’s out of the realm that we would do another vaccination clinic, it’s just depending on what we can get,” Arango said.

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