(The Center Square) – More Indiana school districts have announced they plan to establish COVID-19 vaccination clinics inside their schools this year.
The Monroe County School Corporation, southwest of Indianapolis, sent an email late last week to all families announcing clinics will be set up in several schools and more details would come.
In late July, Monroe County Superintendent Jeff Hauswald asked the Bloomington City Council for $30,000 to offer high school students the chance to win scholarships and cars if they get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We see it as a very forward-thinking opportunity,” said Hauswald said
Some parents aren’t so sure.
Andrea Ford, a former teacher and now parent who grew up in Bloomington, calls it “complete overreach.”
“You’re trying to bribe a minor who can’t even consent to this procedure,” she said, adding that offering high school students a free car for a medical procedure their parents haven't approved is likely to cause “conflict in the home.”
Schools in Fort Wayne worked with a nonprofit organization over the summer on a vaccination campaign that gave $500 to each of five high school students who got fully vaccinated – one in each of the district’s high schools.
“They ran the program and they funded it. We just said it’s fine to do this in our high schools,” says Krista Stockman, a spokesperson for Fort Wayne Community Schools, referring to the organization called Super Shot.
Fort Wayne schools had vaccination clinics for the COVID-19 vaccine in the high schools in the spring, but the vaccination was still low,” says Stockman. “It still is, even with incentives.”
The state health department said it surveyed school corporations in the state to see if they wanted to do vaccine clinics for COVID-19.
“We are assisting those that have requested help,” a spokesperson for the Indiana State Department of Health said in an email.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people years old and older.
On July 29, Hauswald had said increasing the vaccination rate among employees and students was the school corporation’s “number one priority” and said he was awaiting final approval by the FDA before considering a vaccine mandate.
News of the growing list of school districts in the state planning COVID-19 vaccination clinics comes days after Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement of a new public health commission to be chaired by Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.
Monroe has been an enthusiastic advocate for vaccine clinics in schools.
"Schools are trusted institutions that impact the lives of students, teachers, and parents every day. From engaging community partners to hosting a clinic, they can also play a vital role in promoting #COVID19 vaccination," she tweeted Aug. 12.