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Coeur d’Alene brings vaccination clinics to high schools

UPDATED: Fri., May 7, 2021

 (Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)
(Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)

Coeur d’Alene Schools will host three COVID-19 vaccine clinics at high schools in the district next week open to anyone eligible, including students 16 and up who could then be fully vaccinated well before the end of the school year.

The school district has opened up space in its high schools, but the Panhandle Health District will be running the clinics, with their staff administering doses. Students who are younger than 18 years old will need a signed authorization form from their parent or guardian to get the vaccine while at school.

There are appointments available at Lake City High School on Wednesday, May 12, and at Coeur d’Alene High School and Venture High School on Friday, May 14.

This week the school district sent an email went to all parents and guardians in the school district informing them about the clinics.

Students who get vaccinated next week will be able to receive their second dose before classes end for the summer in Coeur d’Alene.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in 16- and 17-year-olds, and it soon could be approved in kids as young as 12 years old , after clinical trials found the vaccine to be both safe and effective among 12- to 15-year-olds.

The Food and Drug Administration will need to amend the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and state and local health officials said the FDA could do so as early as next week. Then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to approve the change. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will also meet to review the findings before it is approved for use in 12- to 15 year-olds in Washington state.

Coeur d’Alene Schools is prepared to allow the health district to schedule additional clinics at school facilities if the FDA approves the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and older next week, Scott Maben, communications director at the district, said.

It’s too early to tell how high demand will be at next week’s clinics, he added. Vaccines have been available to those 16 and older in Idaho since March 29, and it’s possible that many families who wanted their teenagers vaccinated have already gotten their shots.

Spokane Public Schools will release more information about plans to host vaccination clinics in the district early next week. Central Valley School District does not currently have plans for a vaccine clinic.

Mead School District hosted a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine clinic on April 20 at Northwood Middle School, with more than 300 appointments available to any community member 16 and older.

The school district had sent an email about the clinic to all high school parent and guardians in the school district, but the district does not know how many of those who got vaccinated were district students, family or staff.

The second-dose clinic will be held next week, on May 11, Todd Zeidler, public information officer at the district, said.

Students who took advantage of this clinic will be considered fully vaccinated well before Mead School District closes for the summer on June 25.

Zeidler said it’s possible that the district will host another clinic if there is demand for the Pfizer vaccine, especially if the FDA opens vaccines up to more students.

It’s unclear whether or not demand will increase for the Pfizer vaccine if and when the FDA authorizes it for use in 12- to 15-year-olds. Some community clinics in Spokane County have already been offering the Pfizer vaccine, like the Gonzaga-Providence clinics each Thursday.

While county-level data is unavailable, statewide in Washington nearly 28% of 16- and 17-year-olds have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far. County-level data will likely be available next week, helping the Spokane Regional Health District and school district leaders make informed decisions about where to host clinics.

Depending on how quickly the FDA approves the vaccine and when clinics can be held, students could receive both doses before the last day of school as long as first-dose clinics are held in the next couple weeks. The first and second Pfizer doses should be administered three weeks apart.

“We’re already working with our schools and other venues to determine what would be the best way to provide immunization to that age group if indeed its approved in the next few weeks,” Interim Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez told reporters this week.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 135 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and two additional deaths.

There have been 620 deaths in Spokane County residents due to COVID-19.

There are 82 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Spokane hospitals.

The Panhandle Health District confirmed 56 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death on Friday.

There have been 303 deaths due to COVID-19 in Panhandle residents.

There are 23 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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