Top Biden administration officials are urging school administrators to help students get vaccinated, days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a vaccine for young children.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta Democrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Overnight Health Care — Insurance will soon cover COVID-19 tests MORE and Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaSchool infrastructure is a children's human rights issue — it's time the US acknowledges that The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 Capitol attack back in spotlight CDC to reconsider latest guidance amid backlash, rise in cases MORE penned a letter to superintendents and elementary school principals on Monday, pleading with them to assist in the vaccination push for young children following the CDC’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids ages five to 11.
“Today we reach out to you with encouragement for you to actively support the vaccination process for children in your state, territories, county, tribes, communities, and schools,” the two officials wrote.
They added that the inoculation is “the best tool we have to keep our students safe from COVID-19,” keep schools open during the academic year and help limit the spread of the virus in the classroom.
Specifically, Becerra and Cardona are asking school administrators to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics at their facilities to offer on-site inoculation, distribute information about the vaccine to all families that have children ages five to 11 so they have facts and figures from a trusted source, and host conversations about the vaccine with school communities in partnership with doctors and other trusted local medical voices.
First lady Jill BidenJill BidenHarris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE and Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyMaryland Democrat announces positive COVID-19 test Sunday shows - Voting rights legislation dominates Murthy: SCOTUS vaccine mandate block is a 'setback for public health' MORE are also pushing for schools to get their students inoculated. The two figures are scheduled to travel to an elementary school in McLean, Va. on Monday to set into motion a nationwide campaign to advertise vaccines for young children.
The school they are visiting — Franklin Sherman Elementary School — was the first facility to issue the polio vaccine in 1954.
Becerra and Cardona underscored the unique role schools can play in the U.S.’s vaccination effort, pointing out that they are a trusted source for information on the shots.
“Parents listen closely to school leaders and personnel: according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from earlier this summer, parents are approximately twice as likely to get their child vaccinated if their school provides information about the vaccine,” the officials wrote.
“We urge you to do all you can to help parents and families learn about the vaccine and get access to it,” they added.
They are also asking that schools offer paid time off to employees; that way, they can take their own children to get inoculated.
“As trusted partners in your communities, we ask that you do all that you can to help accelerate vaccination among school-age children,” the two officials concluded by saying.
--Updated at 8:41 a.m.