New York City is intensifying its efforts to increase Covid-19 vaccinations among public school children by setting up pop-up clinics at schools with low vaccination rates and launching an information blitz. As child vaccination uptake has stalled, the city plans to reach parents through robocalls, fliers sent home in backpacks, and virtual town halls with public health officials. Currently, just over half of students are fully vaccinated, and there are significant disparities among schools, with elementary schools having the lowest vaccination rates. Schools with a higher proportion of low-income and Black students show lower vaccination rates compared to majority-Latino, majority-white, and majority-Asian schools. The city’s three-week vaccination campaign is set to begin on March 21, aiming to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation and encourage more parents to get their children vaccinated.
However, public health officials leading outreach campaigns acknowledge that they are facing challenges of distrust, misinformation, healthcare access issues, and other roadblocks in convincing parents to vaccinate their children. To overcome these hurdles, experts emphasize the need for personalized and sustained efforts, including one-on-one conversations led by individuals parents can relate to and tailored to address the specific concerns of different communities. Building trust and providing accurate information about the vaccine are essential in breaking through vaccine hesitancy. Schools, being trusted entities within the community, can play a crucial role in these efforts, especially given the extended time children spend there, making them a prime institution to continue Covid-19 relief efforts.
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