(NEW YORK) — In an effort to boost youth vaccination rates, some New York City schools began offering shots to students 12 and older on Friday.
The pilot program started with pop-up vaccine clinics at four schools in the Bronx, and will be followed by additional locations in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, according to the city’s department of education.
The clinics will offer the Pfizer vaccine, and no health insurance is required to receive it. Students age 12 to 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and ID is required to prove their age, but other information, such as immigration status, will not be asked for or considered.
“We’ve seen a real powerful uptick in vaccination levels now that younger people can get vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Thursday news conference. “New York City is ahead of the national average in youth vaccination.”
As of Wednesday, 118,000 adolescents age 12 to 18 in the city, roughly 23% of that age range, had been vaccinated, according to the mayor.
In addition to shots at schools, New York City is promoting vaccines with its “Youth Vax Week” program, including hosting block parties in each borough’s parks, with music, food, activities and a vaccination bus offering the Pfizer vaccine.
The mayor stressed the importance of making vaccination fun, easy and accessible, as well as answering any lingering questions parents might have.
“We need to reach the youngest New Yorkers,” he said.
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