Guide to Hosting COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics at School
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- Vaccination is our leading public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Getting school communities vaccinated against COVID-19 will help to prevent outbreaks. It will also help to ensure students can keep learning, in person, at school.
- Convenience is one factor that contributes to families deciding to get vaccinated. You can make it more convenient for eligible school staff, students, and other people in the community by hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics at school.
- Thousands of schools nationwide have successfully hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
How to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics
Step 1. Consult your legal counsel
You will want to make sure you:
- Have the legal authority to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
- Understand any liability and informed consent issues, as well as other legal issues related to the protection of minors, school staff, and volunteers.
- Understand what resources are available to cover the costs of hosting a clinic. For example, federal funds may be available to host vaccination clinics. Visit the U.S. Department of Education website for more information.
Step 2. Identify and select a vaccination provider
Vaccination providers handle all aspects of vaccine administration, including:
- On-site set-up
- Clinical and administrative staffing
- Administration of vaccines
- Post-vaccination monitoring
Providers in your area include:
- Local, county, or state health departments. Find your local or county health department. Local health departments may also be able to provide direct support for clinics, outreach, and education, and connect you to other community partners.
- Pharmacies. Most pharmacies participate in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Find a pharmacy in your area.
- Community health centers. Find a federally supported health center near you.
- Doctors, nurse practitioners, hospitals, and other health care providers. Find additional vaccine providers at vaccines.gov.
Also talk to your vaccine provider about offering flu and other routine immunizations along with a COVID-19 vaccine at your vaccination clinics.
Step 3. Pick dates and a location for your vaccination clinics
Work with your selected vaccination provider to determine dates, times, and a location for your vaccination clinics. Also determine roles and responsibilities for everyone involved—you can get a sense of how to do so by looking at this On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit.
Right now, only the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available for people ages 5–17. Therefore, you will need to hold a second clinic 21 days after the first so recipients can get fully vaccinated.
Other considerations include:
- Building access
- Physical space requirements
- Technology requirements
- Need for extended hours for school staff
- Class disruption
- Conflicts with other school activities
- Additional operational costs
You may choose to host your vaccination clinics off campus at places where students and families can safely gather, such as:
- Sporting events
- Parent–teacher association (PTA) meetings
- Community recreation centers
As an alternative, you could provide transportation for students to and from a vaccination site in the community.
Step 4. Promote your vaccination clinics and invite your families to get vaccinated
Work with the selected vaccination provider to develop outreach materials for parents/guardians that describe the vaccination clinics. Be sure to include the following information:
- Which vaccine is being offered and why it is recommended for their child
- Where and when the vaccine will be offered.
- How they can register and provide consent to their child receiving these services.
- How they can access the emergency use authorization fact sheet for the vaccine being offered.
- Where they can access pre-vaccination checklists.
- Who they can contact if they have questions or concerns.
Parents/guardians read communications that their child’s school sends home. You can engage, inform, and encourage families and students about COVID-19 vaccination through school-based communications channels, such as email, text, backpack letters, tech platforms, and learning management systems your schools may already use. CDC has customizable templates you can use for communications with families.
To encourage turnout for vaccination clinics:
- Work with trusted messengers. Trusted individuals—such as principals, teachers, doctors, school nurses, and others who your community trusts—can hold community conversations about COVID-19 vaccines. Connect with a local pediatrician or school nurse and invite them to participate or speak at vaccine-related events. Find a local pediatrician via the American Academy of Pediatrics or your local health center.
- Partner with community- and faith-based organizations. CDC has developed toolkits for community-based organizations and faith-based organizations to help them hold question-and-answer sessions or walk-up engagements where families and students can have their questions answered.
- Partner with families to develop trusted peer-to-peer materials and have conversations. Work with families in school communities to design, develop, and provide feedback on communications and materials about COVID-19 vaccines. Involving families is an invaluable way to ensure your materials are responsive to local community needs.
- Work with PTAs, teachers, and other community-based organizations. Partner with PTAs, teachers organizations, and others in your community to host workshops and discussions among community members and families about COVID-19 vaccines. local pediatricians and medical leaders to be a part of these community conversations.
- Use YOUR voice as a leader in your community. You are a trusted messenger in your community. Partner with other trusted messengers, like your school nurses, and use your social media platforms, host events, and interview with local and school journalists about vaccination efforts in your school communities and drive turnout.
All communications should be translated and available in various languages, as appropriate.
Step 5. Host your vaccination clinics
Protection of minors. If parents will not be present during vaccination, it is critical to protect minors by ensuring processes are in place to:
- Verify students are eligible to be vaccinated ahead of the clinic, by reviewing consent forms to ensure they are complete and screening for contraindications and precautions.
- Ensure only children who have parental consent are vaccinated by confirming a child’s identity. Identify students at time of vaccination, possibly through a child’s verbal confirmation or through a teacher’s verification for younger children.
Handling vaccine side effects. Side effects, such as a sore arm at the injection site and flu-like symptoms, following COVID-19 vaccination are common. Consider developing protocols for:
- Contacting parents/guardians and sending students home early if they are feeling ill post-vaccination.
- Excusing school absences 1–2 days after vaccination as students experience side effects.
Remind vaccine recipients about the second dose. Be sure to remind vaccine recipients about the need to get a second dose 21 days later. Also include this information in your outreach materials for parents/guardians.
Step 6. Share your progress
Share your progress with other communities that may be able to replicate your successes in their schools.
Please promote your vaccination efforts on social media using the hashtag #WeCanDoThis.
The steps above are an adaptation of the following, more detailed instructions on how to facilitate school-based vaccination clinics:
- Considerations for Planning School-Located Vaccination Clinics
- On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit
- How Schools Can Support COVID-19 Vaccination
Other resources available to help you make school-based vaccination clinics happen include: