State seeks to boost vaccine rollout with clinics for kids 12 and up

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Kansas is taking a step to make the vaccine more accessible, introducing new vaccine clinics across the state, aimed specifically at kids.

Governor Laura Kelly toured Topeka High School’s vaccination clinic on Monday, one of the first of several vaccination sites across the state.

“School districts have this opportunity to get as many kids vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible,” Kelly said.

This comes after a CDC panel approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use in children ages 12-15. Kids and parents lined up early Monday morning to get the vaccine for the first time.

“I am excited to be vaccinated, and to keep others safe, to keep me safe,” said 15-year old Ainslee Bolejack.

Ainslee is the last in her family to get the vaccine. She was accompanied by her father, Richard Bolejack, who said he was excited to see his daughter get vaccinated, after becoming fully vaccinated himself.

“It’s time. She’s 15 and she’s waited, and she’s just fortunate that the government said 15-year old’s can get the shot,” he said.

Other parents and children filled the gymnasium, which was prepped with tables and nurses ready to administer the vaccine at the first vaccination site in the Topeka School District. According to organizers of the event, translators were also available to help address language barriers and provide information about the vaccine.

Topeka Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, said this is one step in helping make the vaccine readily available to marginalized communities and prepare students for upcoming spring and summer breaks.

“We have the opportunity right here, while we have students at school every day to make this an easy access point,” Anderson said.

Looking ahead, the governor said she plans to introduce other efforts to make the vaccine accessible.

“We want to make sure that we have these vaccines in family practice offices, internal medicine offices, and we will also do pediatricians,” Gov. Kelly said.

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