CRLS Clinic Aids in Community Vaccination Effort

The+vaccine+clinic+at+the+War+Memorial+building+at+CRLS.

Allison Hunter Korn

The vaccine clinic at the War Memorial building at CRLS.

Margaret Unger, Metro Editor

As the US continues to vaccinate its adults, many scientists believe that a majority of the population, including children, must be vaccinated to conquer the COVID-19 pandemic. With adolescents aged 12 and up now eligible, Cambridge held a student vaccination clinic on Wednesday, May 26th.

Since December of 2020, three vaccines have received emergency Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization in the US: the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine was initially authorized for ages 16 and up; the others for 18 and up. Typically, clinical trials for children are held after trials for adults, meaning the Pfizer vaccine did not receive emergency use authorization for ages 12 and up until May 2021, when over 100 million Americans were already fully vaccinated.

 The idea of a student vaccination clinic had been in the works for months in Cambridge. Susan Feinberg, spokesperson for the Cambridge Public Health Department, told the Register Forum that “Once teens under 18 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the school district and health department were eager to host a clinic for Cambridge youth.” With the majority of middle and high school students now eligible for vaccination, these plans came to fruition in a clinic held in CRLS’s field house on May 26th between 11 AM and 6 PM.

164 students were vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at the CRLS clinic.”

According to Feinberg, 164 students were vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at the CRLS clinic.[/pullquote] While students were encouraged to make an appointment, drop-ins were accommodated. A consent form completed by a parent or guardian was required for students under age 18, and the vaccine was free, with no identification required. CRLS student Jayden Le ’23 was vaccinated at this clinic, and described the experience as “very simple and painless.” In accordance with CDC guidelines, students waited at the clinic for fifteen minutes after their shot in case they experienced a rare reaction to the vaccine.

Many CRLS students, however, were already vaccinated by the time this clinic was announced. CRLS student Phoebe D’amato ’23, who got vaccinated at a CVS pharmacy, noted that she “would have definitely gone to the CRLS vaccine clinic if it had been held earlier.” Still, the CRLS clinic had the benefit of convenience. Le explained that he “decided to get vaccinated at CRLS because it was very simple to do. I was going to do it anyway so I decided to just do it now.” This echoes the sentiment that Lee Gianetti, Director of Communications for the City of Cambridge, shared with the Register Forum, saying, “The clinic’s goal was to make it as easy as possible for any student who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine to receive one.” For many students, the simplicity of stopping by for a vaccination after school just made sense.

Because the Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose regimen, second doses will be administered at the CRLS clinic on June 16th. Two doses are needed for the vaccine to be fully effective, making it especially important that all students return for their second dose. Shortly after, they will join the 59% of Cambridge residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of June 3rd. For those who are not yet vaccinated, a variety of locations in Massachusetts are still offering the vaccine. To look for sites and book an appointment, visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/.