Laredo school districts discuss early pediatric vaccine success

After both UISD and LISD started administering pediatric vaccines to children aged 5-11, both districts were delighted with the continued interest from parents, stating that it will certainly positively impact the safety of the community with regarding the pandemic and that students will be safe in time for the Thanksgiving break.

As of now, UISD has vaccinated at least 800 students and efforts are ongoing throughout the week. Irene Rosales, director of the UISD health service, said a vaccine clinic at Memorial Elementary was planned Friday that would provide vaccines not only for children but also for adults.

She said it was important to give families the opportunity to have their children vaccinated and to receive their own vaccines and/or booster vaccination. However, noting the high demand for the pediatric vaccine, those administrations require parents to make an appointment as a limited number of doses are provided by the state.

During the week of Nov. 15, Rosales said the district will partner with Gateway Community Center, which will provide 1,350 doses per day. This will be the start of clinics, starting with one at Veterans Memorial Elementary, starting with 400 doses assigned for them. In the future, about two to three schools will be visited by vaccine health service personnel every day.

In their sister district, LISD Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Maggie Martinez said they’ve worked equally hard vaccinating eligible students and have provided vaccination clinics at their high schools and clinics during football games for added convenience.

Martinez said district staff began providing vaccines to four elementary schools daily from Monday. As for Friday, she said the total number of pediatric vaccines administered by district nurses to children aged 5-11 is 2,528.

Current vaccination efforts all come within the same time frame as a federal judge ruled that Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and allowed county and district officials to reissue mask mandates on campuses.

Martinez said that while there have been no talks or changes regarding the implementation of a new mask mandate and LISD only strongly encourages the use of masks, she was proud to emphasize that a majority of students and staff – regardless of vaccination status – continue to wear masks throughout the day.

Similarly, at UISD, Rosales said masks are currently strongly encouraged on campuses, but also quoted that she has seen a majority of students continue to wear their masks. It may be possible for both UISD, LISD and other educational institutions to initiate another mask mandate, but that has yet to be determined and would fall to their board of trustees.

Ultimately, with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the opportunity for students and staff who plan to visit relatives out of town, welcome a large number of guests to their homes, or simply take a getaway in light of intermission, both districts of plan to get as many vaccines as possible before the break. This also means the flu vaccine, as Martinez pointed out, the districts are providing those vaccines as well.

Rosales said the pediatric vaccine was a long time coming, as the pediatric population makes up a large part of the Laredo population. Aside from the postponement of a pediatric vaccine, the unvaccinated population still poses risks of continuing the spread of COVID-19. She encourages anyone who is not vaccinated, as it can affect those around them, including their young children and their classmates.

However, after the district sent out surveys, Rosales – who was initially skeptical of the perceived demand – said it was a good sign to see strong demand from parents and staff continuing as they try to get interested families to make appointments for leave. vaccinate. This optimism and interest in the vaccine are expected to continue as biotech companies continue to work on the 6-month to 4-year-old dose.

She added that it is important, mandated or not, to wear a mask as a preventive measure, as no one should endure the difficulties of themselves or a family member at home to deal with a preventable health problem.

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