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Time ticking for students to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before school year begins

Next Monday is the deadline for students in Cy-Fair and Houston ISDs to get their first shot if they want to be fully vaccinated when the fall semester begins.

HOUSTON — It’s been months since 12-year-old Nicholas Calkins got his second COVID-19 vaccination shot.

“I feel more safer from it,” Calkins said. “I just hope things will be better.”

Calkins and his mother, Samantha, who’s also a teacher, encourage others to get it, too.

“Get your kids vaccinated so that when we’re in classrooms full of students that are unmasked that they are protected,” Samantha Calkins said.

The CDC said this week that only 29.3 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds nationwide are fully vaccinated from COVID-19.

Calkins and family friend Dawn Seiffert said they know plenty of folks who remain hesitant.

“But looking at the science, studying the science, it should be something we can agree on,” Seiffert said.

Next Monday is the deadline for students in Cy-Fair and Houston ISDs to get their first shot if they want to be fully vaccinated when the fall semester begins on Aug. 23.

They have to wait three weeks for the second dose and then two weeks for immunity to kick in.

Both districts, like many others, offered vaccinations on campuses before the last school year ended.

It’s something Spring ISD, which recently used social media to clear up vaccination concerns, plans to continue.

“We have partnerships with Harris County as well as some private vendors, medical providers that we’re going to make sure we have the vaccine available on our campuses through this school year,” said Chief Ken Culbreath, head of Spring ISD Emergency Management & School Safety. “Just for those who, as their decision meter changes, that they have the opportunity to come on campus and receive the vaccine.”

It also reminds families of vaccinations, like polio and MMR, that are mandatory.

“There are vaccines that are required for school, but the COVID vaccine is not one of those required for students to be enrolled in school,” said FBISD Health Services Coordinator Maria Johnson, BSN, RN, NCSN. “Our nurses are reminding parents actually before the start of the next school year when they’re due for vaccinations.”

Most districts encourage students to follow the guidance of medical experts and their own family physicians.

“We realize that’s the best ticket to move forward to some sort of normalcy,” Seiffert said.

Several parents have told KHOU 11 they’re still not convinced the COVID vaccine is safe despite research and limited reports of side effects.

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