VERNON TOWNSHIP — Less than 12 percent of eligible teens participated in a recent vaccination clinic for Crawford Central School District high school students, Superintendent Tom Washington told the district’s board of directors Monday.
Of the 580 students in the district who are 16 and older, about 65 students or 11.2 percent elected to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Washington. The vaccine was offered Friday at Meadville Area Senior High in a clinic organized by Meadville Medical Center (MMC).
“The numbers, for me, were not as high as I would love to have seen,” Washington said.
The participants included some from Meadville High and some who were bused by the district from Cochranton Junior-Senior High, according to the superintendent.
Washington noted that the state’s age restrictions for vaccine recipients had been lowered on April 19, making everyone 16 and older eligible. Some eligible students in the district participated in a clinic that MMC held at Park Avenue Plaza on April 21, Washington said, citing a hospital official, but he did not know how many received vaccinations there.
Asked about possible explanations for the low turnout after the meeting, Washington said, “I have no idea why.”
Crawford Central posted announcements about the clinic online on April 14 and sent letters to parents of eligible parents the same day. Students younger than 18 who participated were required to submit consent forms signed by a parent or guardian by April 20, three days before the clinic was held.
“I strongly encourage you to allow your child to be vaccinated as it is extremely important for the health and wellbeing of your child, family and our community,” hospital CEO Philip Pandolph told parents in the letter.
On Monday, Washington told the board, “For those who did show up it went very well and we’ll have a follow-up in three weeks with their second shot.”
Washington expressed optimism that more students would seek vaccinations after seeing how “early adopters” fare.
Crawford Central staff members, along with employees of other school districts, were among the first county residents offered vaccinations in early January. At the time, Washington told the board that “just under 50 percent” of employees had registered to receive the vaccine at the first opportunity. More have received it since then, but Washington has said that he has no record of how many.
Holding another clinic for district students would be up to the hospital, according to Washington.
“If they give us an opportunity, we certainly will offer it,” he said after the meeting.
Seniors especially should consider being vaccinated, according to the superintendent.
“Whether you’re going off to college, the armed forces, or going into the workforce,” he said, “there’s definitely a benefit to already having it.”
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with regard to the number of Crawford Central School District students eligible to be vaccinated. An inaccurate figure was provided during the district’s board meeting Monday. District officials provided the correct number after this story was originally published.