Group members started by saying that schools are for education and not for immunization. They said the vaccine is not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that these vaccines put children’s lives on the line, with one group member calling the vaccines “trapping children with poison.”
They also said that more than 99% of children who contract COVID do not become seriously ill. They said the decision to vaccinate children should be made by parents with their child’s doctor and that holding a shooting clinic on school property is not appropriate.
Superintendent Gregg Parks said it was not their idea to offer the school vaccines, but they cooperated with CHI St. Joseph’s Community Health, an agency that worked with the school on its plan to safe school during the pandemic, when asked to do so.
He said attendance at the shooting clinic was in no way driven by the school and the decision whether or not to participate was entirely up to parents.
Parks also pointed out that other health agencies enter the school during the year, offering sight and hearing screenings as well as preventative dental care.
Parks concluded the discussion by saying that vaccinations would not be given at school.
“I will work with public health to find a different place,” he said.
Parks said after the meeting that 18 students had signed up for vaccines at the school.
“We will share the information with parents who have registered when a new location is identified and they will be responsible for bringing their children to the site,” he said.
Marlee Morrison, director of CHI St. Joseph’s Community Health, said the idea to offer vaccines in schools came from the state.
“We are the Hubbard County public health agency, so we work under the direction of the Minnesota Department of Health,” she said. “With the recent FDA approval for the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 years of age and older, and knowing that schools are the source of epidemics, we want to offer the vaccine to those who are eligible. It’s a statewide strategy.
“In our county, not everyone lives near a vaccination center, which is why we are really trying to get the vaccine to where people are for convenience. There is no cost for the vaccine and the schools do not receive any money for our coming there. In this way, children don’t have to miss school and parents don’t have to miss work to bring their child. “
Morrison said Community Health has offered flu and children’s vaccines in schools for many years: A vaccination clinic for students 12 and older was held at Laporte School in Hubbard County last week .
“We had the school’s cooperation to keep it in their building,” she said. “Obviously, all vaccines are given with parental consent and no one is required to receive the vaccine. It’s just a way to give access to the vaccine to those who want it. We want to make it available on the spot for people and provide accurate information so people can make informed decisions.
“We made it very clear in the letter we wrote to parents that no one is required to be vaccinated. We also sent a vaccine information sheet to the school to be sent with the letter and available at each clinic. ”
Morrison said “vaccine reluctance” is something they hope to resolve in the future. She said the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and older had been approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Clearance.
While COVID-19 has primarily affected adults, Morrison said there were critically ill children and children who died. Children can also spread the disease to others.
“The vaccines are for public health,” she said. “The more people we have vaccinated in a school and a community, the safer our community is.”