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Everything you need to know about getting your children ages 5+ vaccinated in Peoria Public Schools

A 10-year-old child high fives Pharmacist Colleen Teevan after he received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for kids at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on November 2, 2021.
A 10-year-old child high fives Pharmacist Colleen Teevan after he received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for kids at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on November 2, 2021.

Peoria Public Schools students ages 5-11 can receive the coronavirus vaccine in the classroom starting next week.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control approved the Pfizer vaccination dose for children this week. The dose is roughly a third of the adult dose and will be repeated.

Peoria Public Schools staff sent students ages 5 and up home with permission slips this week. Once a parent or guardian signs and returns the permission slip, students will be eligible for a vaccination via Unity Point Health's in-school team.

During a Thursday press briefing, UnityPoint's Stephanie Doss said parents will be notified in advance of the day their child will be vaccinated. UnityPoint will begin calling parents on Friday, so parents should have their phones handy, she added.

Vaccinations will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays via the in-school mobile vaccination team, Doss said. On vaccination days, the mobile unit will work its way throughout District 150 in waves, Doss said, visiting various schools for a block of time.

"So for example, if little Johnny has been consented, we will call mom and state that, 'Your child will be vaccinated at A-B-C school, on November 9, from 9 to 9:30,'" she said.

Stephanie Doss UnityPoint Health
Facebook Live / Screenshot
Stephanie Doss works for the in-school health team managed by UnityPoint Health.

UnityPoint Health has already received signed permission slips from parents of children at Kellar Primary School, Whittier Primary School, Franklin Primary School and Charter Oak Primary School.

"We will travel to wherever the need is," Doss said.

Parents are encouraged to attend their child's appointment if possible, she said.

"We know this age group, 5 to 11, may need a little bit more coddling," she said. "We are definitely prepared to give them all the love and care they need during this process."

Peoria City-County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said children will not be considered fully vaccinated until they receive their second doses. These doses can also be administered in schools, if parents choose, she said.

PPS Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat is encouraging families to get their children vaccinated. The majority of COVID-19 infections among PPS students are happening within the 5-11 age group, she said.

Plus, fully vaccinated children who are exposed to COVID-19 will not need to quarantine or take a negative test to stay in the classroom, she said.

"That's a nice benefit," she said. "Fewer exclusions, much more focus on learning."

Doss said parents who are on the fence about getting their child vaccinated can call UnityPoint Health for information.

"We really try to educate as much as we can," she said. "Not necessarily to sway them ... but to make sure they are making an educated decision."

Families can still get their children ages 12+ vaccinated via Peoria Public Schools at UnityPoint Health's in-school clinics located at Trewyn Middle School, Manual High School and Peoria High School.

Parents and guardians who did not receive a consent form should call their child's school office, Kherat said.

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