COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for 5 to 11-Year-Olds

COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for 5 to 11-Year-Olds

Published in English and in Spanish in El Tecolote and in Chinese in Sing Tao Daily.

By Dr. Vincent Matthews

As part of preparing students to thrive in the 21st century, we aim to increase their curiosity and engagement. These are some of the capacities that we hope each and every SFUSD student will possess by the time they graduate.

Earlier this month, I visited Malcolm X Academy School with our Board President and a UC San Francisco pediatrician where fourth and fifth grade students showed us adults just how curious and engaging they can be. As the newest group to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the students wanted to learn more about why they should get vaccinated.

As I told the students then and as our district has been saying for months, there are many reasons to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

We know that vaccines are the most effective way to decrease risk of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Research shows that current vaccines are highly effective in preventing infections and death, even against Delta.

When your child is fully vaccinated, they won’t have to quarantine if they are considered a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID. This is important to keep our students in school and learning in person. 

With the holidays coming up, we encourage you to get your children vaccinated so that people can be together with their families as safely as possible. Parents and guardians can go to a pharmacy, primary care provider, or vaccine clinic to get their child vaccinated. 

Given that supplies may be more limited at first and we hope demand will be high, please remember to make an appointment before you go to get vaccinated. Appointments to many community locations can be found online. 

Parents and caregivers can make appointments using their health system’s instructions, or pharmacy websites. Other sources for vaccine appointments include the state’s vaccine booking website, myturn.ca.gov and the City’s website, sf.gov/getvaccinated, which will be updated with local information about appointments as it becomes available across the network of sites in San Francisco.

Don’t worry if your child misses a bit of school after getting vaccinated. We know that everyone reacts differently and some students might need a little time to recover. Their teacher will assign independent study work.

Our school district is committed to making free vaccines accessible to SFUSD students and families. In partnership with the SF Department of Public Health, we have opened 4 vaccination clinics at SFUSD schools this fall. If this is the easiest way to access vaccines, please make an appointment to visit one of our clinics.

Our 12-17 year olds have led the way with the highest vaccination rate in San Francisco, and it is our hope that younger students will continue this trend. I’m so proud of the students at Malcolm X Academy who asked their questions about the vaccine, and I was thrilled when they said they would share what they learned with their families.

SFUSD is actively following health and safety protocols in compliance with state and local public health guidance to curb the spread of COVID-19, so that our schools can remain a safe, welcoming, and healthy environment.

When preventative measures are appropriately taken, schools are low-risk and safe environments for students to learn, play, and thrive. 

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