Onondaga County preparing to host vaccine clinics for 5 to 11-year-olds in and out of schools

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended child-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in 5 to 11-year-olds Tuesday afternoon, Central New York counties and school districts are already gearing up for the final approval.

Onondaga County is discussing ways for school districts to host vaccine clinics for those younger children on school property.

It’s no simple task, especially a clinic specifically for young children, but it’s a process Onondaga County is already familiar with.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been doing this for a long time. I know we’re all looking forward to the time when we don’t have to be doing this anymore, but as a result of the pandemic, we have become pretty skilled at this.”

Ann Rooney, deputy onondaga County Executive of human resources

With an FDA advisory panel’s recommendation of the Pfizer vaccine for those children 5 to 11-years-old, the county and its school districts are working through the logistics of having vaccine clinics on school property.

“In large part, it will mirror what we did when the 12 to the 18-year-olds were approved last spring,” Rooney explained. “So, for instance, when we did the older school kids, we took Jordan-Elbridge and some of the schools out in the western suburbs together. The southern school districts like Lafayette, Fabius-Pompey and OCS had a combined clinic. Some of our larger school districts just held their own, individual clinic.”

Onondaga County isn’t only considering the location of the clinics, but how each one will be pulled off.

Rooney said the county considers the smallest details such as determining how many vaccine stations are available per location, registering children for the shot and even parking logistics.

“All of those things we take into consideration, and we have a pretty well-oiled machine with that Advance Team and our Health Department and our department of Emergency Management,” Rooney said.

If school districts can’t host their own COVID-19 vaccine clinic for younger children, Rooney said the county plans on having a central and larger site at the Oncenter.

We may do it in successive times and especially on weekends, which would be more conducive for families working to get their children to the site. It will not be as big as some of the ones you saw back in January, where we were doing over 1,000 people a day. Just with the idea that these are young children, many who may be a little scared or hesitant like we probably all were at that age with the prospect of getting a shot.

ANN ROONEY, DEPUTY ONONDAGA COUNTY EXECUTIVE OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Every school district in Onondaga County has been tasked with sending out surveys created by the health department to parents and families in order to gauge interest in the vaccine for those younger children.

Rooney said results from the surveys will be in by the end of this week.

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