Public health experts point to vaccine distribution as a key to getting students back in class and keeping teachers safe. As more districts work to get teachers and staff their shots, leaders debate whether schools should become community hubs for vaccination.
An increasing number of school district leaders are setting up creative partnerships to vaccinate teachers and staff—and now some are pressing local health officials to let them expand to the community at large.
Sprawl, gentrification, and cycles of disinvestment have led to markedly different access to drug stores, supermarkets, and medical facilities across the United States, but nearly all communities still have schools, the leaders note. Centrally located and often at walkable distances for most residents, schools have the potential to serve as powerful vaccination hubs.
It’s unclear how many of the nation’s school districts currently host on-site vaccinations. Partly that’s a function of how much vaccine each state has received and where teachers and other school personnel fall on their tiered plans for rolling out vaccinations.
But if the idea picks up traction, it could increase public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines and potentially also help prioritize communities that have been hardest hit by the virus—and face the most hurdles in access to vaccinations.