Nearly 3,000 students and public school staff received at least one shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during the first two days of the new school year this week at one of the city’s 700 school-based vaccination sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Wednesday.
Public school students returned to classrooms on Monday, Sept. 13, with some health and safety precautions in place 18 months after the pandemic prompted a system-wide shift to remote and eventually blended learning.
The cornerstone of de Blasio’s health and safety plan for public school students has been encouraging vaccinations among school staff and students eligible to get inoculated against the virus.
And as part of de Blasio’s push to boost vaccination rates among young New Yorkers, the City has set up pop-up vaccination sites at 700 school locations across the five boroughs in order to provide all students 12 and up with access to the inoculation.
The sites began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to school staff and students on Monday and will continue to do so for the remainder of the week. Health officials will return to all 700 school sites the week of Oct. 4 to give out second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to those that chose to get the shot in schools.
The Department of Education could not provide a breakdown of how many of those that received a shot in a school-based vaccination site were students or staffers. During a morning press conference, de Blasio said now 69% of all vaccine eligible children in New York City, or about 356,700 kids between the ages of 12 and 17, have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are using every tool we’ve got so another 3,000 people is a big deal to us,” de Blasio said. “Every single one matters.”
While the mayor touted increasing vaccination rates, the DOE updated its COVID-19 tracker to show the number of positive cases detected across all public schools.
Since Monday, Sept. 13, the website indicated, 105 students and 113 staffers have tested positive for the virus — prompting 58 full classroom closures, 86 partial classroom closures, and forcing 24 staffers to quarantine.