ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools is making a big student vaccination push. The district says it’s planning for mass vaccination events to possibly begin next week while urging students to get registered through the state’s online vaccine portal.
The vaccination clinic planning comes after a handful of new COVID-19 cases paused in-person learning at Eldorado High School this week. In response, the district pushed a student vaccination toward about 50 students from the northeast Albuquerque high school.
APS believes it has about 20,000 students ages 16 and older who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. In the coming days, it expects to have more information for students seeking vaccination.
“We’re looking at in the next week, having specific events that really target our youth and pushing events that are specifically for 16- and 17-year-olds to get them vaccinated with the event code,” said Gabriella Blakey, Chief Operations Officers for APS. “But in order to get it, we really want to stress the students need to sign up for the vaccine.”
APS says those upcoming clinics are still in the planning phase. The district is hoping to partner with the mass vaccination site at the Pit for at least some of the rollout.
While an estimated 20,000 district students are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, APS says it’s not sure how many students will take them up on the offer to get vaccinated, or how many days youth-directed clinics will be available.
The district says all of the scheduling will happen through the state’s vaccination portal after event codes distributed to students. APS says the effort isn’t just about keeping COVID from spreading through schools and homes but also helping the state get closer to herd immunity and helping stop any further community spread.
“I think we all feel that sense of competition if you will, healthy competition to say that as New Mexicans we reached herd immunity first,” Blakey said. “It’s a great list to be on, and I think we want to be a part of helping the state as well with our students.”
State data indicates about 43% of the state’s entire population of roughly 2.1 million people has gotten at least one COVID-vaccine shot so far. As of Wednesday, 902,695 New Mexicans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
APS says the teen vaccination clinics will offer Pfizer’s vaccine. The district also says the clinics are aiming to vaccinate all local 16 and 17 years old, not just APS-enrolled students.
Neighboring Rio Rancho Public Schools is also planning a student vaccination event for next week at the Rio Rancho Events Center (formerly the Santa Ana Star Center.) RRPS says the district has about 3,400 students who are 16-years old or older. The clinic planned for Tuesday, April 20 is expected to have about 3,000 available slots.