Vernon County holds second vaccine drive for ages 5 to 11

VERNON CO., Wis. (WKBT) — Pediatric hospitalizations in the United States have reached record-breaking numbers for three consecutive days. As of Tuesday, nearly 780 children a day were being hospitalized per day.

Health officials say it’s more important than ever for children to get vaccinated. One Vernon County school is doing everything it can to slow the spread of COVID and keep its students in school.

“With the shortage of substitutes and just teachers in general, we just feel it’s important that we’re there as much as we can be,” said Ev Wick, a parent and teacher at Stoddard Elementary School.

One by one, kids lined up to get the second dose of their COVID vaccine.

“We did a parent survey and found there were a sufficient number [of parents] that wanted a school-based vaccination clinic,” said De Soto School District Superintendent Linzi Gronning.

In Vernon County, only 17% of 5- to 11-year-olds are vaccinated.

“We feel that it’s important to get those rates up,” deputy health officer Emily Olson said.

Vernon County health officials believe vaccinating school-age kids will slow the spread of COVID and help healthcare workers.

“And in return, it’s going to help decrease the workload on the hospitals by keeping those children healthy,” Olson said.

Wick had both of his children vaccinated.

“My mom’s a nurse, too, and she highly recommended it. If something were to happen, we feel that the risk would be a little lower,” Wick said.

Wick says the district’s vaccine drives are also convenient.

“Parents didn’t have to take work off or anything like that. It was easily accessible,” Wick said.

As for the kids, most left the clinic smiling.

“We just take a little bit more time working with the children to reassure them and make sure that they know they are safe,” Olson said.

Nearly 30 kids were vaccinated, and the De Soto district hopes to have a third vaccine drive for the booster shot soon. The district also plans to schedule one more day of vaccinations for students who may have missed their second dose.

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