San Antonio ISD’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics aim for equity, keeping kids in schools

SAISD has partnered with local clinic to administer vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Independent School District’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics kicked off Friday afternoon at the Burnet Learning Center for kids ages 5 to 11.

In an effort to make vaccinations available to all students, the school district has partnered with South Texas Allergy And Asthma Medical Professionals, or STAAMP.

Day one of the clinics drew in about 200 students to receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Burnet Building in Southtown.

Lylli Jade is an SAISD student enrolled in the fourth grade. She admits there were concerns over the vaccine.

“I was nervous about, like, what would happen if there was, like, a side effect or something,” Jade said.

Doctors like Erika González say the side effects could be treated with over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

“When you think about it, the risk of a kid having COVID and having complications is much higher than the risk of them having any long-term effect from the vaccine,” said González, CEO, president and founder of STAAMP in San Antonio.

Ultimately, Jade decided to get her vaccinated, and she was registered for Friday’s clinic by her mother.

“Honestly, I just want it to be safe, and I don’t really want to get sick,” Jade said. “I didn’t want to get (my mom) sick.”

Jade’s mom, Betty, supports the decision.

“She’s seen so many people pass (away), and it really made her scared and paranoid to go to the grocery store,” Betty said. “I am a retired nurse. (I worked for) 35, so I’m all for immunization to protect the kids.”

On Friday, STAAMP medical staff vaccinated about 200 kids ages 5 to 11. Kids’ anxieties and fears were eased in part by the support staff like Leia.

“We also have an emotional support dog (Leia),” González said. “She’s been a great help because she’s very, very loving, and she’ll just sit on their laps. (The kids will pet) her, so they’re distracted while they’re getting their shots, and that’s been really a game-changer for us.”

Their biggest hurdle, however, is getting weary parents on board to get their kids vaccinated.

“I understand their anxiety, but the science behind it is actually pretty solid,” González said. “Although (the COVID-19 vaccine) did come out to market faster than most vaccines, well, it did not skip any of the FDA required steps.”

SAISD interim Superintendent Robert Jacklich said the vaccine clinics aim for equity and helping keep kids in school.

“By providing vaccinations for all of these stakeholders, (it) allows us to keep our commitment to keeping (students) safe (and) healthy,” Jacklich said. “(It also allows for) them to enjoy their families over the holidays.”

They’re reunions students and their families already look forward to this holiday season.

“It makes me feel happy because I kind of want to go with (my uncle),” Jade said.

For dates and to register for upcoming vaccine clinics for SAISD students, click here.

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About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.