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Grand Island Public Schools to host vaccination locations

Grand Island Public Schools to host vaccination locations

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Four COVID-19 vaccination sites for individuals age 12 years and older will be available at Grand Island Public School locations in a partnership between GIPS, Central District Health Department and Heartland Health Center.

Lincoln Elementary and Walnut Middle School will be the sites of the public Pfizer vaccine clinics. Lee Jacobsen, GIPS safety coordinator, said the locations made sense for accommodations.

“We wanted to use our schools that hold that type of age group,” Jacobsen said. ”We offered that; we want to do anything to help.”

Dr. Daniel Leonard, pediatrician at the Children and Adolescent Clinic, said in a statement there is a need for younger individuals to be more active in getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Adults have done a great job of getting vaccinated in order to help get us back to ‘normal,’ and now we need our young people to join in that effort,” Leonard said.

While the focus is younger vaccine recipients, anyone is welcome.

Jacobsen said, “We want the community to come in.”

Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Tawana Grover shared that sentiment.

“We are excited to provide these vaccination opportunities for our community. It takes all of us to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to stamp out the pandemic for good,” Grover said.

Teamwork has been getting the community closer to that reality, Jacobsen said.

“The staff has come together to volunteer and help,” he said of his colleagues.

Working with CDHD and Heartland Health Center has also been essential, Jacobsen added.

“They have been wonderful,” he said.

As bonuses for being vaccinated, the first 100 individuals who come in for the vaccine will receive free lunches in a picnic environment. T-shirts that say “vaccinated” will be given away as supplies allow.

Leonard said keeping the lines of communication open within and between families and medical professionals is part of stopping the spread.

“I encourage our youth and parents to talk about the vaccine, and when in doubt, call your doctor. We are more than happy to sit with you and talk about the vaccine and what to expect, with the biggest expectation of getting your life back to normal,” he said.

Getting school back to normal is also a goal, Jacobsen said.

“We’re striving for the goal of opening school as normally as possible,” he said.

The Grand Island schools are seeking to have a widespread ripple effect on the community, Jacobsen said.

“If we can get the kids to be vaccinated, then it helps their parents … helps their grandparents … helps Grand Island,” he said.

Jessica Votipka is the education reporter at the Grand Island Independent. She can be reached at 308-381-5420.

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