by Kendall Tietz
New York City Public Schools will administer COVID-19 vaccinations to elementary students at one-day vaccine clinics at school sites starting next week, following federal approval of the vaccine for 5-to-11-year-old students, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
All students five and older can receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for free at 1,070 school sites across the city starting Monday, Nov. 8. City-run vaccination sites in the city will begin vaccinating 5-to-11-year-olds starting Thursday.
“In each of our schools that has kids in that 5-to-11-year-old range, we are going to have a day for each school when vaccination is provided at the school building itself. That will start next week, and we will carry it over into the following Monday,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Wednesday.
On Monday, our kids can get vaccinated at schools across NYC. I know parents are excited to get their kids vaccinated and we’re ready to get the job done. pic.twitter.com/DXnxbZ6rSx
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 3, 2021
Parents must accompany their children or provide verbal consent through the phone, de Blasio said Wednesday.
Vaccinated students will also be eligible for a $100 incentive if they get the shot from a city-run or school site, de Blasio said during a press conference Thursday.
“We really want kids to take advantage, families to take advantage of that,” de Blasio said. “Everyone could use a little bit more money around the holidays.”
On Tuesday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel unanimously voted to recommend Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5-to-11-year-old children in the U.S. Following CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s final approval the same day, she said 28 million children in the U.S. are now eligible to get the vaccine.
“Parents: I know you’re eager to get your child vaccinated against#COVID19,” Walensky said on Twitter. “The distribution of the vaccine started this week & will be available at full capacity next week. I encourage parents to talk to your pediatrician about the importance of getting your child vaccinated.”
Maud Maron, an Independent candidate for the New York City Council, said the move to vaccinate kids 5-11-years old “feels like groundhog day.”
“Teens were promised a return to normalcy if they were vaccinated,” Maron said. “That has not happened. Middle & High school kids are masked in class, limited in sports participation and cut off from normal school experiences like dances and plays.”
“Parents who want to vaccinate young kids have that option now,” Maron added. “But anyone who vaccinates their elementary school child because they think it will restore normalcy has not been paying attention.”
Maron has been vocal in the city’s debate surrounding unmasking children and reopening schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jean Hahn, a New York City mom, who has been involved with Queens Parents United and PLACE NYC said she thinks it is great that the vaccine has been made readily available to families who want it, but that most parents she has heard from are hesitant due to the lack of long term data regarding the vaccine for kids.
“It is unknown how it will impact kids who haven’t transitioned through puberty,” Hahn said. “The Mayor’s monetary incentive is also strange – if it’s safe, then does this offer of $100 seem like a bribe?”
Another mother, Natalya Murakhver said New York City is one of the hardest places to be a kid right now. She is currently working on a project called #MaskLikeAKid, which challenges elected officials, parents and influencers to wear a mask all day and experience what kids do while they are masked up in class.
Regarding the vaccine, she said she is not philosophically opposed to the vaccine at all.
“I’m fully vaccinated,” Murakhver said. “I follow science, I believe in evidence-based medicine. My question is, where’s the pediatric emergency? We seem to be singularly focused on COVID, which seems to pose very, very little threat to kids.”
“Why are we only talking about vaccinating kids, but not having a conversation about allowing them to restore childhood, restore access to their teachers and classrooms, restore access to socialization and unrestricted movement and really go back to pre-pandemic school, which much of the country and Europe did a long time ago without any adverse effects,” Murakhver added.
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Kendall Tietz is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.