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County announces plan to bring mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics to KHSD schools

Kern Medical will be bringing mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics to school campuses throughout the Kern High School District, according to the county health department.

Starting the week of April 19, Kern Medical will be at a Kern High School District site every Tuesday and Wednesday administering the Pfizer vaccine, according to Michelle Corson, spokeswoman for the Kern County Public Health Services Department.

"The Kern High School District is in the early stages of developing a plan with local medical providers to offer COVID vaccinations to our students 16 and older who wish to receive one," said Erin Briscoe, a spokeswoman for KHSD.

Corson added that parents would also be invited to get the vaccine. Some of the details being worked out are where the mobile vaccine clinics will begin.

"We will be communicating more details with our families in the coming days," Briscoe said.

She said the partnerships with the district were "a step in the right direction in reducing the number of COVID-19 outbreaks in our community."

Vaccine eligibility for all those who live or work in Kern County opened up on April 5. At the district's school board meeting on April 6, trustee Bryan Batey asked whether the district could be doing something proactive to help get students vaccinated.

"I think we should be making efforts with the county health department or Kern Medical to see what we can do to be a leader in this," he said. "If we don't do it now, it's going to be a problem in the fall."

He noted that in the short-term, positive COVID-19 tests among athletes who are routinely tested have resulted in postponed games. As students return to campus for in-person learning, it could mean classes or entire schools being shut down.

Current state guidance states that a school must shut down if three outbreaks have occurred in a school and more than 5 percent of the in-person adult and student population is infected within a 14-day period. 

Kern Medical has been a long-time partner with the district. Many of Kern High's teachers and other staff members received vaccinations through Kern Medical. 

Board president Jeff Flores applauded news of the partnership and said it will help to improve health outcomes for the entire Kern community.

"The more we get vaccinated the more protected we are," he said.