The City of Philadelphia has announced that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will assist the Department of Public Health in a new school COVID-19 vaccination program intended to inoculate teachers, principals, and staff at all schools in Philadelphia.
This includes staff at all district, charter, independent and parochial schools, as well as at child care centers and pre-K providers. Also included will be classroom aides and cafeteria workers.
The vaccination effort is expected to begin by the end of February and expand to include a number of locations, including pop-up clinics located in school buildings throughout the city. Further operational details are still being developed.
“As we near the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, getting children back into classrooms throughout the city is vitally important to their future,” said Mayor Kenney. “So I am absolutely thrilled to see Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia stepping up in a major way for our children. While I fully support Dr. Hite’s plan to have students back in classrooms the week of February 22, this vaccination program will go a long way to easing the concerns that teachers have expressed. It is imperative that our children get back to in-person learning, and every Philadelphian should be thankful that CHOP is able to offer its resources and expertise for this crucial effort.”
The City will be working with early child care providers, including pre-K providers, to sign up for vaccinations.
“We are pleased to assist the City in its effort to safely return children and school staff to the classroom,” said Ron Keren, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “We are committed to serving the needs of those in our community, especially children and those who care for their growth and development on a daily basis.”
“The implementation of a vaccination program for our staff is welcome news to complement the many layers of safety we’ve already put in place in our school buildings,” said William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “We are thankful for this initiative that prioritizes our employees, and look forward to supporting the implementation of this plan as we continue with our plan to return our staff and students back to school.”
Over the next several months, all Philadelphians will begin to have access to vaccination based on a phased schedule of priority populations. The schedule was determined by the City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC), and has been informed by continuing discussions of the City’s Coronavirus Interim Racial Equity Plan. This approach prioritizes populations at high-risk of acquiring infection, transmitting infection to vulnerable persons, or suffering severe consequences of infection. The program is currently in Phase 1b, which includes teachers and school staff, as well as:
- Frontline workers at high risk for exposure who perform essential duties.
- Persons working and residing in congregate settings.
- Persons 75 years and older.
- Persons with high-risk medical conditions.
Under Phase 1c, vaccine will be available to other essential workers with lower risk of exposure and persons 65-74 years. Under Phase 2, vaccine will be available to all individuals 16 years and older not previously immunized. The start dates for those phases have not yet been determined and depend on vaccine availability.