High school hosts vaccination clinic to promote public health

Allowing for the vaccination of students, the high school served as a clinic open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 24. Around 460 students registered to be vaccinated.


**Baby got vax…***Distracting from injection pain with small talk, school nurse Jen Kaufman (left) administers the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to senior Samantha Tiley. Kaufman had previously asked screening questions and discussed side effects with Tiley.* *Arrowhead photo by Esha Bhardwaj*

Through a mass vaccination event in collaboration with Rann Pharmacy, students ages 16-18 were vaccinated at Souderton Area High School on April 24 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Students registered for the vaccination beforehand with a schoolwide email registration that closed on April 15. The clinic’s accessibility was a large part of the appeal for students to register for vaccinations.
“I think our students would be more comfortable coming to their high school rather than to drive twenty minutes to another clinic,” Superintendent Frank Gallagher said. “It’s easy.”
Senior Samantha Tiley agrees.
“It was much more convenient to come to the school. It took me like 15 minutes to get here and now I’m able to feel safer visiting my grandparents and doing things with my family that I wasn’t able to do before,” Tiley said.
Volunteers checked registration forms, insurance cards, consent forms and temperature before students entered the cafeteria. Students were then directed to tables with volunteers waiting to ask them screening questions then administer the first dose of the vaccine.
According to school nurse Bonnie Miller, the high school provided a larger facility for vaccination than Rann Pharmacy and more access to people in need of the vaccine.
“I think it’s going to keep our community healthier. A lot of people are realizing the importance of the vaccine and vaccines in general,” Miller said.
Miller was at the forefront of the vaccination effort, meeting with Rann Pharmacy representatives to coordinate the clinic at the high school.
“Sometimes we have some difficulty getting parents to vaccinate on a timely basis,” Miller said. She believes that this event will help “build up that herd immunity” and inform the community that older family members will be safer when more people are vaccinated.
Students also do not have to quarantine if they are contact-traced after two weeks of having received the second dose of the vaccine. The second dose for students will be administered on May 15.
According to volunteer Vincie Campbell-Burr, the high school serving as a vaccination clinic does not only affect the student population and their immediate family.
“It opens up spots for community vaccinations for other people in the community who don’t have access to a high school,” Campbell-Burr said.
Some students feel that people should have the ability to choose whether to get the vaccine or not.
“If they want it they should have access to it, but if they have reasons they don’t want it that’s fine, too,” DuBois said. “I think for school settings considering how frequently everyone is getting quarantined it’s important. But, then again, it’s really hit or miss with who wants it or who doesn’t.”
Students who were motivated to register for the vaccination event did so for a variety of reasons ranging from a desire for normalcy to college requirements.
“I think it’s important just to help the general population so that we can all sort of get back to normal at some point,” senior Stephen Butler said.
Junior Matthew Rainieri has a similar view. “It’s one step further to getting back to normal and I feel like many people seek that normalcy,” Rainieri said.
He believes that this event was the “perfect opportunity for young people to come out and do their part” as older generations may not vaccinate because of health restrictions and other reasons.
Junior Savannah Hovis said that those who choose to be vaccinated “can stay safe and protect others, especially people who are high-risk.”
For Tiley, the vaccination was fast and painless. “It was very quick. I was in and out of there in 20 seconds,” Tiley said.