Talawanda to open Saturday vaccine clinics for children


Photo by Michelle Miao

Students at Talawanda High School are maskless and not required to social distance during lunch at Talawanda High School.

By Claudia Zaunz

The Talawanda school district will host two Saturday vaccine clinics, available to children ages 5 to 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 20 and Jan. 8, at Talawanda High School.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for this age group, late Tuesday.

An expert committee advising the FDA recommended that regulators authorize the coronavirus vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds, bringing about 997,570 Ohio children closer to becoming eligible for shots, an Ohio Department of Health (ODH) news release said. 

Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when the vaccine is administered, said Talawanda Superintendent Edward Theroux. He said that getting the vaccine will be voluntary.

Theroux said he wants to have the clinics on Saturdays because “(it will) allow families to come, but also give students a day to rest afterwards.” 

The clinics at the high school will offer booster vaccines as well as first and second doses to individuals who wish to receive them, Theroux said. More information and registration links will be coming out soon, he said.

“I am happy that the child vaccine has been emergency approved for those who have been waiting and wanting this vaccine,” he said.

According to the ODH statement, expanding the vaccine eligibility will bring “the total of Ohioans eligible to be vaccinated based on age to 10,998,272, approximately 94% of the state’s population.”

“As of Nov. 1, more than 2,000 Ohio children under 18 had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 had died. Nationally, the virus has taken the lives of nearly 800 children,” the press release said.  

“We are on the threshold of a long-awaited step that brings us closer to getting through this pandemic,” Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff said in a press conference Wednesday morning. 

ODH also announced the official expansion of the Ohio Vax-2-School program. Eligible Ohioans between the ages of 5 to 25 will be given the chance to win prizes including 150 $10,000 college scholarships and five $100,000 grand prize scholarships. The program will have several registration deadlines, Vanderhoff said.

ODH officials said they expect students to start signing up for chances at the scholarships as soon as the first dose of the vaccine has been administered, ideally by the initial registration deadline of Sunday, Nov. 21.

Talawanda updated its COVID-19 protocols Oct. 26, as it received updated recommendations from ODH.

Students are now permitted to take their masks off to eat together during breakfast and lunch sessions in the school cafeterias, without social distancing. Students must continue to mask before and after these breaks while inside the schools. 

“These recommendations seem to provide some additional ways in which to provide in-person learning in public schools in Ohio for students that may have been exposed to COVID-19 in our schools, while still taking precautions to keep students and staff at a low risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” according to a statement released by Director of Communications & Public Engagement, Holli Morrish.Talawanda schools have seen a decrease in quarantines, isolations and infection rates over the last couple weeks, Theroux confirmed. According to the district dashboard, there are currently 10 active student cases and 16 students in quarantine in all five TSD buildings.