ROCHESTER - Rochester Public Schools have collaborated with the Rochester Fire Department, Strafford County Public Health Network and the University of New Hampshire to hold a series of clinics to offer COVID-19 vaccines to students in Rochester Schools, the district announced on Tuesday.
All eight elementary schools and Rochester Middle School hosted clinics for students, with 534 students districtwide registered via a voluntary survey that was sent to parents and guardians.
The Rochester Fire Department reached out to the district about collaborating on a vaccination effort once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine for children ages 5-11.
|A UNH nursing student administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a student at the Chamberlain Street School on Monday as a Rochester Firefighter provides support. (Courtesy/Rochester Public Schools)|
Nursing students from the University of New Hampshire volunteered to administer the shots, while the Strafford County Public Health Network worked with the New Hampshire officials to secure vaccine doses.
"I'm so very pleased by the great teamwork displayed by school staff, firefighters, nursing students and the Stafford County Public Health Network that enabled Rochester Public Schools to offer this important resource to our school community," said Superintendent Kyle Repucci. "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our students, and these clinics will help assure that our community remains as secure as we can be from the COVID-19 pandemic."
At a clinic at the Chamberlain Street School on Monday, UNH nursing students administered the vaccine after working with firefighters to set up a clinic in the school's gymnasium. Firefighters stood by with each student to provide support as they received the vaccine, and handed out lollipops and stickers to students afterward.
The clinics provided first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which received emergency use authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA for those ages 5 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose regimen, with three weeks between first and second doses. Children ages 5-11 receive a lower dose than adults, with children receiving 10 micrograms of vaccine and adults getting 30 micrograms.
The clinics provided first doses to 409 of the students district-wide whose parents or guardians requested them. The number of students given first doses in each school are:
Chamberlain - 81 students
Each Rochester - 57 students
Gonic - 31 students
Maple Street - 36 students
McClelland - 77 students
Nancy Loud - 16 students
School Street - 15 students
William Allen - 63 students
Rochester Middle School - 73 students
Rochester Public Schools are planning to offer second doses of the vaccine during the week of Dec. 13. Administrators will contact families directly about that effort.
The same organizations also will collaborate to offer COVID-19 booster shots for Rochester Public Schools staff members on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.
"I would like to thank Rochester Public Schools staff, the Rochester Fire Department, the University of New Hampshire Nursing Program and the Stafford County Public Health Network," said Repucci. "We encourage anyone who has question about the vaccine to speak with a trusted medical professional, such as their child's physician."