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Spokane students among more than 400 vaccinated at North Central High School clinic

Seventh-grade student Anna Cumberland knew she was going to get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner or later.

The 12-year-old Spokane student got her shot Friday along with more than 400 other registrants at a vaccine clinic at North Central High School. The clinic was the first scheduled by Spokane Public Schools after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 18-year-olds.

Friday’s vaccinations were administered by nursing employees with Spokane Public Schools. Dr. Bob Lutz, former Spokane County health officer, also volunteered Friday to help with vaccine administration.

It was a bit of an ordeal for Cumberland, who takes classes at North Central High School as part of the Institute of Science and Technology.

While she said she got “super freaked out” before the shot, Cumberland was fine when it was done, waiting with her fellow students on the other side of a partitioned wall as they were monitored for side effects.

Her message to other students feeling nervous about the vaccine: “Just do it because it’s not that bad.”

“I already had COVID in January,” Cumberland said, “but if I were to get it again, I could spread it to my family and they could potentially spread it to their work or the grocery store. It’ll just help stop the spread.”

Registrants at Friday’s clinic included North Central High School students, other Spokane Public Schools students, students from other districts, district staff and other adults, Doughty said.

Those who received their vaccine Friday also received a slip about scheduling their second shot. District officials said the second dose will likely take place at another Spokane Public Schools facility if it’s not North Central High School.

Doughty said the main difference between vaccinating children versus adults is the additional layer of consent, as parents have to sign off on their children receiving the vaccine.

“We need to make sure that since kids are coming here without their parents, we know we have the consent on file,” she said. “It should be the parent registering the student, and so we just double-check to make sure that it was the parent that signed off and the student did not register themselves for a dose.

“It’s been pretty slick,” Doughty added regarding Friday’s clinic.

Future vaccination clinics scheduled at Spokane high schools include Lewis and Clark on Monday and Tuesday; Ferris on Wednesday and Thursday; Shadle Park on May 24-25; and Rogers on May 26-27. All clinics will run from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Doughty emphasized that the clinics are open to students across the region even if they do not attend Spokane Public Schools.

“We’re really happy to partner with families to do this,” she said.

North Central High School Principal Stephen Fisk said he has heard from students and parents appreciative of another option to get vaccinated.

“For many of our students, getting to vaccination clinics is challenging,” Fisk said. “We were hoping that this creates that connection. Everybody knows where school is. … I’m happy we could provide this service, and obviously by looking at attendance today, it’s been a hit.”