For many, this is the first time they have been in a classroom since the start of the pandemic. Immunizing children is important to many parents. In Oakland on Saturday, an immunization clinic offered free vaccines and school supplies to families.
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“I asked my mother to let me go, because I want to go back to school and see my friends,” said 12-year-old Aida Ndaiya.
Ndaiya, from Oakland, is preparing for grade 7. She just won a free backpack, A’s tickets and a Target gift card after getting vaccinated at the pop-up clinic. But she didn’t come for the free loot.
“I think that because I get the vaccine, I will be able to protect others around me, even if I contract COVID, which I don’t want,” Ndiaya said.
The vaccination clinic has been hosted by Bebe Memorial Cathedral and Kaiser Permanente, where doctors are concerned about the increase in the contagious Delta variant, especially in underserved communities.
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“Today we are bringing the vaccine to ages 12 and up, especially with our kids going back to school, we need to get them vaccinated and slow the spread,” said Dr Nailah Thompson of Oakland Kaiser Hospital .
Pastor Charley Hames, Jr. says many young people in the community still don’t believe in the vaccine, including members of his own family.
“I have three young adults, two are vaccinated, the youngest is not. I work on it every day, in part because of the misinformation,” Hames said.
Daniela Campos, 12, admits she was skeptical about the shot.
“I really didn’t want to do it because I felt like it was scary, but I did,” Campos said.
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“She was a little scared, excited to go back to school,” said parent Zoila Montoya.
In a message to parents, the Oakland Unified School District superintendent said, “We need every Oaklander at least 12 years old to get vaccinated, and young children do once they are eligible. It will protect our country, it will protect our city, and it will protect our schools. “
For those who are too young to get the vaccine, doctors say masks are still the best defense.
Masks will be mandatory for all Oakland Public School students, when in-person learning resumes on August 9.
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