Paterson School District launches program to drive students to COVID-19 vaccine sites

The Paterson School District is encouraging all students who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine -- and to get one before the new school year starts.

News 12 Staff

Aug 16, 2021, 8:47 PM

Updated 979 days ago

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The Paterson School District is encouraging all students who are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine -- and to get one before the new school year starts.
To make it easier for the families, the district has started to offer rides to and from vaccination sites.
Students haven’t been inside a school building since March 16, 2020. School officials say that when school starts in September, the goal is to make sure the students stay with in-person education.
Superintendent Eileen Shafter says that within the last few weeks, 61 students have gotten the vaccine shot.
“We need to get our children back into school. There’s no doubt about it,” Shafer says. “We have the partitions, the air purifiers, air blasters, but we need the vaccination.”
Monday was the first day of the program to offer rides to parents and students. The vaccine sites are located at St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Paterson Health Department.
Paterson resident Laysa Morales was among the people getting her child vaccinated.
“It’s better for the kids. When they go back, all of the kids will stay together,” she says.
Amy Perez, 14, and her 12-year-old brother also received their first dose. Their mother explained to them the shot would lessen the effects of the coronavirus if they became infected.
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“It was fine. It felt like a regular shot. I was nervous at first, but I felt OK,” Perez says.
Shafter says that there are about 13,000 students eligible for the vaccine. She says that she will be pleased if half of those eligible get the shot.
She says that preparations are underway for the new school year, but adds that it won’t be a normal year.
“We can’t go in the first day and say, ‘Open up your social studies book and let’s go.’ We’ve got to talk about what happened over those 17 months,” Shafter says. “How did you feel about it? How did you like being home, working on a computer?”
Families are also being offered gift cards to McDonald’s for those getting the vaccine.


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