CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — This week some high school students in Rhode Island will be able to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine directly from their school.
One vaccine clinic for students 16 and older will get underway Monday morning at Cranston High School East, with a second clinic scheduled for Wednesday at Cranston High School West.
Barrington is scheduled to hold a clinic Thursday, with Johnson and North Kingstown both administering doses on Friday.
Next week, Pawtucket will hold two events to give students over 16 the opportunity to get vaccinated. Clinics are scheduled at Shea High School on May 13 and Tolman High School on May 18.
Pawtucket city officials said while the students are waiting in the 15-minute observation period, they will be given a voucher for an item from a food truck parked outside.
Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins said the district was especially encouraging high school seniors to sign up to get vaccinated. Hopkins is hoping the in-school clinics will provide an easy opportunity for students to get a vaccine before college, since some campuses will require the vaccine.
Additionally, he wants students to feel safe attending milestone celebrations in the upcoming future.
“It’s not going to be a traditional graduation, but I think it will be something that they’ll remember,” Hopkins told 12 News Thursday. “And now that we have the vaccinations coming in, within three weeks, we’ll have the second round of vaccinations for them, which will give them about a week, prior to that first prom.”
The city is providing the Pfizer vaccine, which is authorized for those over the age of 16.
A person age 16 or 17 may sign a vaccination consent form on their own and they do not need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive their dose, according to the R.I. Department of Health. This means parental consent forms are not necessary, which has some parents concerned.
“This is not the flu shot, this has not been tested so to give this to a child unbeknownst to a parent is out of line,” Rick Provost from Rise Up RI said.
Hopkins told 12 News last week he expects there will be high demand from students, but with about 1,000 vaccines allotted per clinic, the city is prepared to have some leftover doses.
“If they have family members that are 16 and over, we can bring them in,” he said. “If they have parents that haven’t gotten vaccinated, we might as well use the vaccines while we have them.”
Hopkins added the city is using the same model for when senior citizens were vaccinated. Members of the fire department, along with other community volunteers, are helping to vaccinate students.
Second doses for Cranston students are scheduled to be administered May 24 and 26.
The COVID-19 is not currently mandatory at any high schools in Rhode Island.