FRIDAY, Aug. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Worried about low vaccination rates among the young as the new school year looms, the White House on Thursday unveiled a new initiative to get shots into the arms of more students.
The push will include enlisting pediatricians to make COVID-19 vaccination part of back-to-school sports physicals and encouraging schools to host vaccination clinics. The initiative was announced by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona as part of a broader "return-to-school roadmap," aimed at getting students back in the classroom for learning this fall.
The vaccination push comes as schools around the country are beginning to reopen. Starting on Saturday, text chains and phone banks will encourage vaccination for the young, although experts and school superintendents told The New York Times that boosting vaccination rates among students may be a tall order.
The administration is focusing on school athletics as an important path to vaccination. Millions of American students play organized sports, and some school officials are making the case that if student-athletes get vaccinated, they can avoid quarantining -- and forfeiting their games -- if they are exposed to an infected person, The Times reported.
To that end, a White House official said on the condition of anonymity that the administration has enlisted the help of various groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, to put out guidance for doctors and to update school physical forms.