LAS CRUCES – More than 700 students, staff, parents and other community members used the Las Cruces Public Schools vaccination clinics to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, most of whom were young children.
Although the clinics focused on vaccinating children ages 5-11, anyone who asked for a vaccine and registered with the Department of Health could get a dose, including those who wanted to get a booster.
In the first week of November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccines could be distributed immediately to children ages 5-11. Since then, New Mexico has been working to set up clinics nationwide.
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LCPS planned six clinics at district headquarters and five middle schools over the past week.
Interesting facts about the clinics
Shawna Bailey, LCPS Director of Healthcare, was present at each clinic to distribute syringes. She said the process was relatively easy for parents.
“They just log into the New Mexico Department of Health’s website, select the clinic they want to go to, and then they show up,” Bailey said.
The LCPS clinics also accepted walk-ins. Department of Health officials are on standby to assist attendees with online registration in the building. Parents must accompany their children to get them vaccinated.
Lizbeth Corrales, mother of 6-year-old Emma and 10-year-old Alexa, said the process only took about 20 minutes after they arrived and stood in line at Vista Middle School on Thursday. Her daughters each received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and their flu shot.
“I would say go ahead and give it to them,” Corrales said. “If that helps you – or at least protects you so that (COVID-19) doesn’t get as bad as you get when you don’t have it – I’ll say do it.”
Corrales said her entire family, including her daughters, had previously contracted COVID-19. Although Emma had no major symptoms, Alexa’s head and body ached for four days.
She said the main reason she brought her daughters to the clinic is because they wouldn’t get the virus again.
“I got my vaccine very early and have never had COVID,” said Genna Slayton, who vaccinated her 5-year-old son Eli Navarro on Thursday. “I wanted to make sure I offered him the same, so it was important to just go ahead and do it.”
Slayton said she was having trouble registering her son online so she went to the clinic and they were able to register her in person with no problem.
High response in the community
Slayton and Corrales are two parents of many who have taken their children to LCPS clinics for vaccination.
“Employees can come in after work,” said Bailey. “That’s great for you and for the parents, who don’t have to make an appointment during the day. And so they can pick up their children from school and come straight to the gym.”
The LCPS reported the following vaccination numbers from the clinics:
- Central 11/13: 191 doses of 5 to 11 vaccine and 36 doses of 12+ vaccine.
- Zia Middle School 11/15: 63 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Sierra Middle School 11/16: 63 doses of 5 to 11 vaccine, six doses of 12+ vaccine, and 13 flu shots.
- Mesa Middle School 11/17: 74 doses of 5 to 11 vaccine, 21 doses of 12+ vaccine, and 34 flu shots.
- Vista Middle School 11/18: 59 doses of 5 to 11 vaccine, 61 doses of 12+ vaccine, and 34 flu shots.
- Picacho Middle School 11/19: 280 vaccines.
Bailey said there will be six more vaccine clinics in three weeks to give a second follow-up dose to those who need them. You will be in the same places and times as last week’s clinics.
She added that even if a person hasn’t visited these vaccine clinics, those scheduled for December will accept anyone who walks in.
Miranda Cyr, a member of the Report for America Corps, can be reached at [email protected] or @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program at https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.