KCHD sets plan to vaccinate those as young as 12 upon FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dr. Sherri Young, the health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD), anticipates the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 12 through 15 any day now. And when the FDA does, Young and the KCHD are ready.

The KCHD announced a vaccination plan for young West Virginians in the county that includes going to every middle and high school in the county.

“We started the plan to be very aggressive. We want to go into the schools. Every middle school, every high school,” Young told 580-WCHS.

Sherri Young

The vaccine is currently approved for those aged 16 and older. Young and the health department visited only high schools in April to vaccinate those students 16 and older. She said that experience was a “warm-up” to what they are about to take on.

“We know what we need logistically, we know what it is going to look like once we get to the schools. The school system is now used to our operating system so that we can get in there, be efficient and get everything we need to be done,” Young said.

The plan includes:

  • KCHD will survey parents of Kanawha County Schools students about vaccine interest and deploy strike teams to vaccinate students in that age group at schools throughout the county. The goal will be to begin vaccinations in schools next week.
  • KCHD and partners will offer vaccinations at Kanawha County Schools’ “Summer Academy” June 7 through 30.
  • KCHD and partners will hold a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic geared toward those age 12 and older and their families on Saturday, May 15 at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
  • KCHD will work with multiple camps, fairs and festivals throughout the summer to provide vaccinations for those age 12 and older as well as the general public.
  • Kanawha County will release a public service announcement to motivate those age 12 and older to receive the vaccine, as well as social media campaign and educational material.
  • Upon FDA approval, KCHD will immediately open appointments to those age 12 and older to receive vaccinations on site.
  • KCHD will partner with Kanawha County Schools and community partners to hold additional vaccination clinics prior to the beginning of the school year.

Young said there are 7,500 students in the county between the age of 12 and 15. She said while she hopes for 100% participation, the KCHD anticipates just less than half participation.

Young said it’s important to get these done as quickly as possible upon FDA approval because of kids going away from the summer.

The KCHD already vaccinated dozens of kids and families as the state basketball tournaments the past two weeks in Charleston. Young vaccinating the young crowd is the key to end the pandemic.

“We hope those 12 and older and their families are supportive of this vaccine. one this is where we are seeing the outbreaks right now is in school-aged children and their parents. A lot of it related to sports and other activities.”

“This is their opportunity to stamp this out.”