Public health officials and school district leaders from Coachella Valley Unified School District came together to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. This comes as the spread of the Omicron variant continues and holiday travel is set to pick up.
The leaders made gathered at the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative vaccination clinic at CVUSD headquarters. According to the CVEC, more than 900 children ages 5 to 11 have received a free COVID-19 vaccine at their clinic so far.
Erika Ibarra already vaccinated her young daughter against the coronavirus.
"Anybody can get sick at a certain point but I know the holidays are coming," said Ibarra. "We want to be around family around friends so it's better to prevent."
The CVUSD announced a call to action to get more parents like Ibarra to vaccinate their kids. The district has a goal to reach 100% COVID-19 vaccination status by the end of the school year.
"So we are at a place of saying we have the capacity to support every child, every family member who wants to test and vaccinate, and every staff member who needs to vaccinate,' said CVUSD superintendent Luis Valentino. "Acknowledge the work that we've done, but also to acknowledge that there's still more work to do because there are folks who are hesitant still to vaccinate."
CVUSD staff is already mandated to be vaccinated by Jan. 10.
Riverside County's public health director, Kim Saruwatari, said vaccinations are crucial with holiday gatherings around the corner.
"It's really important that we protect our kiddos, they may get mild symptoms, but they still can get sick, and they can spread the disease to others," said Saruwatari.
She says about 7,800 kids ages 5 to 11 have been fully vaccinated within the county. which is about 4% of that population.
CVUSD is hosting two more vaccine clinics before the holidays happen. If you want to get yourself or your kids vaccinated, you still have time to do so. Bobby Duke Middle School will be hosting a clinic on Saturday, Dec. 11. You can register here, however, walk-ins are welcome. The next clinic is on Saturday, Dec. 18 at CVUSD. You can register for that one here, but you also walk in.