Guide to On-Site Vaccination Clinics for School
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Host Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for Students Going Back to School
Over the next 6 weeks, more than 50 million students will head back to school. For young people, getting vaccinated right away is the best way to get back to the things they love – like playing sports and spending time with friends and loved ones. However, as of the end of July, only 42% of Americans age 12-17 years had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Now is the time to make sure young Americans get vaccinated.
Vaccination is our leading public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting school communities vaccinated will go a long way in preventing outbreaks before they happen and help to ensure students can remain learning in-person at school. All over the country, leaders from all sectors are mobilizing to help young Americans get their COVID-19 vaccination. We are relying on education, health, and community leaders to lead the way. As part of back-to-school efforts, we are asking school districts nationwide to host pop-up vaccine clinics in their schools and neighborhoods.
The ask: Host pop-up vaccine clinics as student return to in-person learning
We are asking every school district in America to host at least one pop-up vaccine clinic in the coming weeks as their middle and high school students come back to school.
There are many resources available to help you host pop-up vaccination clinics – including providers like pharmacies and local health departments to administer vaccines and support your clinic, toolkits to set these clinics up, and funding through the American Rescue Plan to make these clinics happen.
Pop-up clinics are vaccination sites that hold dedicated day(s) for communities to come in to get vaccinated – for all recommended doses. Clinics may look different depending on what a local community decides to do, but the end result should be the same: setting up dedicated sites for staff, students age 12 and older, and their families from your middle and high schools to come get vaccinated.
Locations and details will vary. Some communities may host pop-up clinics in at a school building where students from several schools can come get vaccinated. Others may provide transportation to a vaccine site in the community, or locate clinics dedicated to local middle and high school students at a local health care center or pharmacy. This can include at sporting events like football games, parent-teacher association (PTA) meetings, back-to-school nights and meet-your-teacher nights, at community and neighborhood recreation centers, and other places where students and families can safely come together in your community. We encourage school and district leaders to be creative!
How you can host pop-up vaccine clinics: Partner with nearby providers
Hosting on-site vaccination clinics at your schools is easier than you may think, and there are many resources available to help you make them happen.
Your first step is identifying a vaccination provider. Providers handle all aspects of vaccine administration, including on-site set-up, clinical and administrative staffing, administration of vaccines, documentation, and post-vaccination monitoring. There are many providers located in your area. These include:
- Local, county, or state health departments – Including those who you have already partnered with on COVID-related efforts. Find your local or county health department.
- Pharmacies – The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program has providers all over the country. You can invite pharmacy providers to come on-site to perform vaccine clinics at your school or at other community sites. Find a pharmacy.
- Community Health Centers – Health Resources and Services Administration-supported health centers are located in communities nationwide. Find a health center near you.
- Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other providers in your area – Find additional providers at vaccines.gov.
You can also talk to your vaccine provider about offering flu and/or other routine immunizations along with the COVID-19 vaccine at your vaccination clinic.
You have many resources available to make school-located clinics happen
School districts all over the country have already hosted pop-up vaccine clinics at their schools, including thousands facilitated through pharmacy providers and school nurses throughout the spring and summer. Local health departments may be able to provide direct support for clinics, outreach, and education, and connect you to other community partners. For detailed step-by-step instructions for how to facilitate school-based vaccination clinics, you can use:
Funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) can be used to host pop-up vaccine clinics and to help build vaccine confidence. The ARP provided $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund to help schools prevent the spread of COVID-19 and recover from its effects, including vaccination efforts for schools. States and districts can use these resources to create awareness and build confidence, host vaccine clinics, and provide incentives such as paid time off for staff to get vaccinated. ARP funds can also be used to provide reasonable incentives to students and their household members to get vaccinated. Learn more in guidance and FAQ documents.
Make your clinics a success: Engage your community, and get word out about the clinics
Setting up your pop-up clinic is only the first step. We also need school district leaders and other community leaders to help get the word out about vaccine clinics and help turn out as many staff, students, and families as possible.
It is normal for students and families to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated starts with communities feeling confident about the process and having their questions answered. The We Can Do This website features a wide variety of vaccine-related resources and materials for multiple audiences on a variety of topics and formats and in nearly a dozen languages. To build turnout for pop-up vaccine clinics:
- Identify trusted messengers – including principals, teachers, doctors, school nurses, and additional leaders your community trusts. Leverage trusted individuals to hold community conversations on the vaccine. Connect with a local pediatrician or school nurse and invite them to participate or speak at vaccine-related events. Locate a local pediatrician via the American Academy of Pediatrics or your local health center.
- Partner with community- and faith-based organizations: CDC has developed toolkits for community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to help hold question and answer sessions or walk-up engagements where families and students can have their questions answered.
- Send letters home via schools, principals, teachers, and text/classroom apps: Parents/guardians read letters that their child’s school sends home. You can engage, inform, and encourage families and students about the vaccine through using school-based communications channels, such as email, text, backpack letters, tech platforms, and learning management systems your schools may already use. CDC has developed customizable templates you can use for communications with families.
- Partner with students and families to develop trusted peer-to-peer conversations and materials: Work with families and students in their school communities to design, develop, and provide feedback on communications and materials about the vaccine. Many school districts have even hired high school students to advise on their communications to young people. Using family and student voice is an invaluable way to make sure that your materials can be responsive to local community needs.
- Work with PTAs, labor unions, and other parent and teacher associations: Partner with parent teacher associations and others in your community to host workshops and discussions among community members and families about the vaccine. Work with the local teachers’ union to phone bank or canvass on vaccination. Invite local pediatricians and medical leaders to be a part of these community conversations.
- Consider using creative initiatives and incentives: States and communities around the country have used a variety of incentives to help encourage vaccination, including giving away tech products, admission to sporting events, cash and college scholarships, and more. Funding from the American Rescue Plan can be used to provide reasonable incentives for students and members of their households to get vaccinated. Find out more here.
- Use YOUR voice as a leader in your community! You are a trusted messenger in your community. Partner with other trusted messengers like your school nurses and use your social media platforms, host events, and interview with local and school journalists about vaccination efforts in your school communities and drive turnout.
Share your progress with the community – and reach out if you need assistance
Working in partnership with others in your community, you can develop goals to get your students and school communities vaccinated, and share out your progress with other communities that may be able to replicate your successes in their schools! Please share out on your clinics on social media using #WeCanDoThis.
There are many resources available to help you make school-based vaccine clinics happen, including:
- Support from CDC: To send questions about school-located vaccination clinic guidance, contact [email protected].
- Library of resources through We Can Do This, featuring vaccine-related materials for multiple audiences on a variety of topics and formats and in nearly a dozen languages.
- Additional supports are available through national education and public health organizations as well.