Cranston preparing to vaccinate eligible high school students next week


CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Starting Monday, COVID-19 vaccination clinics will begin for high school students in Cranston.

Speaking to 12 News via Zoom on Thursday, Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins said expanding direct access to more city residents has been in the works for some time, noting he had made a request to Gov. Dan McKee when he first took office earlier this year.

The clinic opportunities, Hopkins says, are in an effort to give Cranston high school students a better end of the school year than they had in 2020.

At the start of the pandemic, Cranston High School West had a number of infections that forced hundreds into quarantine.

“I’m real happy for our kids,” Hopkins said Thursday.

While the clinics will be for students 16 and older, the mayor said there is an emphasis on getting high school seniors a shot.

“Last year, we had a real tough year with kids graduating and trying to come up with innovative ideas like parades and whatnot,” he said.

This year, the plan is for proms and graduations to take place in-person, though COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place.

Mayor Hopkins hopes getting students vaccinated, while not a requirement, will help them to celebrate safely, but also help to get them ready for their next chapter.

“They’ll be prepared to go away to college next year,” he said. “This is going to be one of the requirements when they start leaving the nest and they start traveling to different schools. The colleges are going to demand these vaccinations anyway.”

Hopkins said there will be about 1,000 appointment opportunities each on Monday and Wednesday between Cranston High School East and West, and parents who are also city residents are invited to get vaccinated if they have not already.

“If some parents do show up with them, we’d be more than happy to take care of them as well,” Hopkins said.

The mayor says he and the superintendent are gauging interest from students now, but believes that it is high.

Registration links are in the process of being sent out to students to get them signed up in advance.

Doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered by the Cranston Fire Department and other community health professionals.

Clinics will take place at Cranston High School East on Monday, May 3rd and Cranston High School West on Wednesday, May 5th. Second doses of the vaccine will be administered on May 24 and May 26 at each of the high schools, respectfully, for students opting to be vaccinated.

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