ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — St. Lucie Public Schools is teaming up with the Florida Department of Health this week in an effort to get more COVID-19 shots in arms.
"I guess a new school year is a fresh start for me," said student Kaitlin Johnson.
For Johnson, it’s not just a new school year, but a new school. The eighth grader will be attending West Gate K-8 in Port St. Lucie.
On Monday, she came to get her COVID-19 vaccination with the Delta variant a concern.
"I thought it was really important that I get vaccinated because I’m going to be going to school and I wanted to make sure I’m extra protected and I’m not going to catch anything," Johnson said.
Johnson's parents were a bit conflicted. Her mom wanted to do some more research before agreeing to allow Kaitlin to get the shot.
"She has to be protected. Even if she gets sick, at least vaccine should keep her from getting real serious," said father Hugh Johnson.
"The more people that get it, the better," said student Aryan Roy.
Seventh grader Aryan Roy got to make the ultimate decision whether to get vaccinated.
"I asked him whether he wanted to do it. He said right away yes. Online class is good but it’s not the same as this," said father Aseem Roy.
"We know that the vaccines are the best defense against COVID," said St. Lucie Public Schools spokeswoman Lydia Martin.
Martin said second shot clinics will be hosted while school is in session.
"And the familiarity and convenience of holding these clinics at our school site, we hope more people will be able to participate in these clinics," Martin said.
Students and staff who are vaccinated will not have to quarantine if they are exposed to coronavirus and remain symptom free.
With masks optional, but strongly recommended, these students decided to take their health into their own hands.
"I know I’m doing what I can to make sure that I’m protected so I’m not scared for myself so much as everybody else," Johnson said.
This week, four other schools in the district will be hosting similar vaccination clinics:
- Aug. 4: Palm Pointe K8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Aug. 5: Southport Middle Gym, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Aug. 5: Forest Grove Middle Gym, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Aug. 6: Sam Gaines Academy, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Aug. 23: West Gate K8, during school day
- Aug. 25: Palm Pointe K8, during school day
- Aug. 26: Southport Middle, during school day
- Aug. 26: Forest Grove Middle, during school day
- Aug. 27: at Sam Gaines Academy, during school day
All students and families are also welcome to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the St. Lucie County Department of Health, located at 5150 Northwest Milner Drive in Port St. Lucie.
Hours at the clinic are 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Click here for a vaccine screening and consent form.
Other St. Lucie County vaccination events will be held at the Police Athletic League, 2101 SE Tiffany Ave., Port St. Lucie, Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Aug. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here to download and fill out the consent form.