City will promote school immunization awareness with state funding

Written by on June 11, 2021

City will promote school immunization awareness with state funding

By Ben Stemrich

June 11, 2021

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

More than $1 million is coming to the City of Allentown from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Nearly half that money will be spent on child immunization awareness to help ease bottlenecks that happen each school year.

Listen to the story.

Shots are typically required for students going into 7th and 12th grades.

Even before COVID, in the Allentown School District, as many as 1,500 students a year are held out of class because they haven’t gotten certain vaccinations.

“We look at 1,200 to 1,500 students who are excluded from school because they are not up to date on their vaccines and most people would say that’s vaccine hesitancy on the part of the parents. But what we find is that when the actual date arrives these kids are excluded. Their parents are lined up at the hospital clinics,” says Vicky Kistler, director of the Allentown Health Bureau.

The problem is with parents waiting until the last minute, she says. 

“What we find is that when the actual date arrives their parents are lined up at the hospital clinics, at our facility to get the kids vaccinated. It’s a matter of making the time,” Kistler says. 

The funds will help get the word out and offer more vaccination sites, she says, similar to the issues during the pandemic.

“The issues that came up with COVID statewide kind of magnified lacking or missing supplies, training, information. Much of it is designed to increase awareness,” Kistler says. 

The funds will help raise awareness and expand locations where students can get the shots, she says. 

The rest of the funds are expected to go towards offsetting existing costs and salaries.

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