TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) – This week high schools and health departments are starting to gather information and work ahead after Governor DeWine announced plans to vaccinate 16, 17 and 18-year-old high school students.
The goal is to vaccinate as many as possible before the start of summer. And some health departments and children’s hospitals have already started.
Mark Stefanik is the Superintendent at Tipp City Exempted Village Schools. He says, “Since they are very social, out and about, that could add to the spread of the virus.”
Vaccinating teens could allow them to move around more safely, go to prom and graduation, and interact more with friends and family.
Dr. Nancy Pook, an emergency department physician with Kettering Health Network, says, “Those who are graduating and going to college somewhere else, there will be less transmission because they are protected from getting infected.”
This week Governor DeWine asked local health departments to reach out to school districts about vaccinating 16, 17, and 18-year-olds. “We would like to get as many of them that want to be vaccinated, vaccinated. And we’d like to do it before school is out this year.”
While teens largely are not showing extreme symptoms of the virus, they can be carriers, and they can also suffer from related effects. Dr. Pook says, “It’s affecting them in a very negative way, actually. They are being told ‘you can’t move around, you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ and becoming more anxious and depressed.”
In Tipp City, there have not been discussions about what a potential rollout would look like for high school students, or if it would be on-site or off. Stefanik says, “If this is an added piece to that protocol, then it will assist us in completing this school year and hopefully beginning the next school year in a more typical fashion.”
And the vaccine eligibility age could drop even further later this year. Dr. Pook says health experts are excited with the results of Pfizer trials on 12 to 15-year-olds, and Moderna has a similar trial. Those processes could lead to emergency authorization sometime this fall.