North Texas school districts making plans to vaccinate students

With the Pfizer vaccine on the verge of getting emergency use authorization for children 12 to 15 years old, several North Texas school districts are making plans to help expedite the vaccination process.

Dallas ISD has the most concrete and aggressive plan in place to get students vaccinated. Others are planning smaller opportunities, and more may be in the works.

With just five weeks left in the school year, Dallas ISD is planning to begin busing some students who are eligible for shots to vaccination sites.

The district says it will only focus on students 16 and over for now and is looking at expanding the initiative to children as young as 12 possibly over the summer or in the fall.

Starting next week, students 16 and over with parental consent will be bused from their schools to the Fair Park or Ellis Davis Field House vaccination sites for their first dose. 

MORE: Dallas County prepares to offer the Pfizer vaccine to teenagers

Administrators say it’s a plan that makes the most logistical sense. 

"The Pfizer vaccine requires a specific type of storage that would be very difficult to bring out to the campuses," explained Jennifer Finley, Dallas ISD Director of Health Services.

But not every DISD school is required to take part.

District leaders are leaving it up to individual campuses to opt-in or out since principals understand vaccine demand in their communities.

Tarrant County leaders say they’re already starting to hear from some interested parents.

"People are calling," said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. "They are registering their children, but It’s not a huge waitlist."

Districts like Arlington ISD are planning a student vaccination event this month. 

"The school is offering transportation for the kids and the parents from different individual schools to a central location where the ISD and the Arlington Fire Department are providing the vaccine," Taneja said.

A spokesperson for the Fort Worth ISD says so far it has no plans to offer similar district-sponsored vaccination opportunities.

But Tarrant County is hoping other districts in the area will reach out. 

Taneja offering this to parents deciding if their student will get the vaccine.

"When school opened, till now about 10% of cases for the entire state of Texas has come from schools. That’s a big impact in my view," he said.