BENTON, Ark. – With COVID-19 vaccines now available to kids as young as 5, local school districts are making it easier than ever to get immunized.
This week, districts across the state are hosting vaccination clinics, including Benton schools. The Benton School District will host two different vaccination clinics for students to get their first or second dose, with all participants able to be fully immunized by Christmas break.
“It’s an excellent option for our students,” exclaimed Cheryl Watson, health services coordinator for Benton Schools.
When kids 5 through 11 were approved at the start of the month for pediatric doses of the vaccine, Watson began planning, drawing on previous county-wide vaccine clinics Benton schools were a part of for inspiration and contacting their previous pharmaceutical partners.
“Having the local pharmacies work with us has been a lifesaver,” Watson said.
West Side Pharmacy was an integral part of the plan, providing the vaccine doses and volunteers to help deliver the shots, along with school nurses across Benton campuses so kids will get immunized by a familiar face.
“We really wanted to be able to offer this to the people who did want to get the vaccine for their children,” said Dr. Maddison Schuller with West Side. She says the clinic has been steadily busy since shipments full of pediatric doses rolled in two weeks ago, with most of their young patients coming in after school. “As that want grows,” she adds, “we’ll definitely be ready to tackle the demand.”
The Benton school district says more than 300 people so far have signed up for the two clinics, with more expected to arrive the day of. Those clinics are happening Tuesday at Ringgold Elementary from 4:30 to 6:30 pm and Wednesday at Angie Grant Elementary from 4 to 6 pm. Another clinic will occur at the beginning of December for kids who need their second dose, and Watson says the district will likely have a spring vaccination clinic if there’s enough demand.