Bay Area schools offer convenient vaccination sites for newly approved young people

Federal agencies are expected to take the final steps to approve Pfizer's COVID vaccine for young teens ages 12 to 15 as soon as Wednesday and California health officials are expected to sign off shortly afterward.

With that approval in mind, some counties in the Bay Area plan to start offering the Pfizer covid vaccine to kids in that age group as early as Thursday. County education offices plan to partner with local health departments to offer vaccine clinics at school sites.

"Schools are the hub of a lot of neighborhoods," Solano County Assistant Superintendent of Communications Jennifer Leonard said. "They're accessible, you can walk there. They're familiar to the community. Schools can be a really convenient location to get the vaccine." 

Leonard said four school districts in Solano County, Fairfield Suisun Unified, Vacaville Unified, Benicia Unified and Travis Unified have signed up with Solano County Public Health to host vaccination clinics at schools over the next few weeks and into the summer months. Several schools in Vacaville Unified School District have served as community vaccination centers in the past.

In Marin County, this Friday through Monday, they're planning to have 1,000 vaccine appointments available at Miller Creek School in Marinwood, in addition to another 6,000 appointments available to teens and the general public on Thursday at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal Parking lot.

According to Marin County health officers, there are 14,000 teens between the ages of 12 to 15 in the county. Their goal is to have half of them vaccinated within the first week those vaccines become available to that group.

Contra Costa County's school vaccination sites should be up and running by May 18.

"They'll come with their teams and set up in gymnasiums and they will have clinics right there at the school sites," Contra Costa County Office of Education Superintendent Lynn Mackey said. "They'll be in all parts of the county. School sites are trusted places to go get the vaccines."

County office of education representatives in Santa Clara, Sonoma, Napa, San Mateo and Alameda Counties confirmed to KTVU that they are also working to set up vaccination clinics and hubs at school sites, but that they are still finalizing those plans.

"You may not necessarily see a mobile site at your school, but you may see a mobile site in your community, at a school near you," said Alameda Office of Education director Michelle Smith McDonald.

Twelve to 15 year olds are required to have parental consent, and in some cases, have their parent or guardian present with them, in order to get the vaccine. 

Smith McDonald said Alameda County health and education officials are hoping to get more guidance from the CDC for possible exceptions to that rule.

"We're going to run into situations where you have parents who are essential workers and are unable to accompany their children to a vaccine appointment. We need to have some consent issues worked out around that."

Teens should also be able to sign up for the Pfizer vaccine through their health care providers.

"Because parents trust their pediatricians. Families trust their family doctors," said Smith McDonald. "Let's hope that the Kaisers, the Sutters and other groups get the supply that they need, so they can start setting up some clinics, as well."