Aiming for safer school year, dozens of Independence students get vaccinated

Tracking Coronavirus

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A Kansas City area school district is working to boost COVID-19 vaccinations before students return to school this fall.

The Independence School District spent Tuesday giving out COVID-19 vaccines at Van Horn High School.

“I feel a lot safer,” student Zachary Granberg said.

Granberg said he’s ready to get back on the football field after a crazy season last year due to the pandemic.

“It was weird because we had to miss a lot of games due to it,” Granberg said. “A lot more than I wanted to.”

He said the best way for him to be safe and not miss a game this time around is to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“If I didn’t get this vaccine and someone ended up getting COVID, I wouldn’t be able to play football,” the Independence teen said.

Granberg is one of dozens of students in the Independent School District who got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before returning back to the classroom this year.

It’s a decision health leaders are urging, as COVID-19 cases increase among children 12 and older who are not vaccinated.

“The vaccine does help keep you safe, and we want to provide those choices,” said Lori Halsey, director of health services for the Independence School District. “If they want to participate, then they can choose to do so.”

Not only did several students get their COVID-19 shot Tuesday, but high-schoolers also received a free physical as well. Students who got their first dose Tuesday will be fully vaccinated in time for the first day of school on Aug. 23.

“A lot of people have been scared (about the vaccine),” said Connie Dawson, who took her daughter to get vaccinated. “My thing was I wasn’t scared, per say, because to me it’s more scary for them to get something that you know could affect them more.”

Parents like Dawson said earlier in the process, she was worried about her daughter getting the shot, but now she’s encouraging parents that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“We actually had COVID in our house, so I just don’t want to get it again, and it be that severe,” Dawson said.

The CDC said last week that vaccinated students and teachers don’t have to wear a mask at school, but the Independence School District hasn’t decided on its policy yet. The district is meeting on a mask policy next month.

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