PEORIA (WEEK) — 200 students at Peoria Public Schools have received first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after a campaign to encourage vaccinations.
“For your family, for your friends, for our community, for our school district,” PPS spokesman Thomas Bruch said.
PPS says that message has resonated well with students. The message comes three weeks after an urgent plea from Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat, fighting against vaccine hesitancy in the community.
“I’m just… putting out a plea,” Kherat told 25 News three weeks ago. “Really please consider taking it.”
We asked Bruch whether he feels that plea was successful.
“Yeah, I do. Definitely,” Bruch said. “Mayors. CEO’s. Superintendents. Any time they make a plea like that, their words carry a lot of weight, because these are leaders. People look up to them.”
The school district sent home vaccine information and permission slips with students. In addition, they started hosting clinics at all three PPS high schools; Peoria High, Manual High, and Richwoods High.
The 200 students comprise around 5 percent of the total population at the three schools. Though, Bruch says that figure does not include hundreds more students who received vaccinations outside of their school clinics.
Nurses at the UnityPoint run clinic at Manual High School say they are taking calls all day about scheduling vaccinations. Despite the stress, officials say every last student is worth it.
“Any student who got vaccinated is a plus in our book,” Bruch said.
He says they still have many more students to vaccinate — made more difficult by students leaving campus at the end of the school year.
Bruch says their focus is on setting up second dose appointments as well as setting up clinics during Summer School.
And with Emergency Use Authorization recently expanded from kids 16 and up to kids 12 and up, they’ll make more efforts in the coming months.
“We’ll work with whatever we’ve got to make sure that opportunity is available to our families,” Bruch said.
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