Districts find ways to administer COVID-19 vaccine to Utah students

Apr 20, 2021, 8:08 AM
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine...
(Vials containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Vials containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

PARK CITY, Utah  – There’s a big effort by health officials and educators to make sure teens who are eligible to get the COVID-19 get it.  Educators in Summit County have already started vaccine clinics for students, while school districts in Salt Lake County will be following suit.

Health workers in Summit County had been working with the Moderna vaccine at first and eventually were able to get some Johnson and Johnson doses.  However, neither of those are approved for people under the age of 18.

County Immunization Director Derek Moss said, “The concern was, ‘Where do our 16 and 17-year-olds go?’  So, we’ve been sending them to Salt Lake.”

This kind of trip isn’t always possible for Summit County teens, especially those living in rural areas. 

“There’s a certain population that don’t have access to cars or are able to get to Salt Lake for various reasons.  It could be work, or it could be a knowledge thing about where to go,” Moss said.

The Summit County Health Department decided to host a vaccination clinic at Park City High school for students living in nearby districts.  The first doses were given Monday and the second are being planned for May 10th.  Moss said pre-registration was very high for these clinics, and if they need to have more clinics, they will.

“If there’s enough demand, absolutely.  We’re on it,” he said.

Officials in Vernal are also planning a vaccination clinic at Uintah High school later this week.  The first dose will be administered April 22nd, while the second dose will be given May 13th.

Uintah High School will host a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination event for TriCounty Health Department on Thursday, April…

Posted by Uintah High School on Monday, April 19, 2021

School districts in Salt Lake County are also planning vaccination clinics, but the schedules are a little  more “up in the air.”  For now, they’re trying to gauge how many students would be interested in getting the medication.  Parents in the Granite School District are being asked to fill out a survey that would help them determine how many doses will be needed.

“We’re now looking to vaccinate 16-17 year-old kids who have an interest and whose parents authorize it,” said Granite School District Spokesman Ben Horsley.  “What better place to do that than in the school they attend?”

Horsley said the Salt Lake County Health Department reached out to districts all over the valley to help arrange these clinics and they aren’t quite certain when the vaccines will arrive, but it will likely be soon.

“We plan on starting our vaccination clinics next week,” Horsley said.

Parents in the Canyons School District received a similar survey. 

District Spokesman Jeff Haney said, “There are nearly 7,000 students in the Canyons School District who would be eligible to receive doses of the vaccine for novel coronavirus in school and during school hours.”

However, Haney said parents don’t have much time if they want to ensure their child gets a dose.  If the vaccines are coming soon, he said parents need to act soon, also.

“We want parents to respond to this survey by 5 p.m. on Wednesday,” Haney said.

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Districts find ways to administer COVID-19 vaccine to Utah students