Iowa City Community School District parents ‘relieved’ to vaccinate students 5-11

The Iowa City Community School District partnered with the Visiting Nurses Association to vaccinate students ages 5-11 against COVID-19. The clinics are held in ICCSD elementary school buildings for the next two weeks.

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Gabby Drees

O’Leary twins, 8, pose for a portrait at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children at Weber Elementary School in Iowa City Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

Meg Doster, News Reporter


Iowa parents are taking advantage of the Iowa City Community School District’s free on-site walk-in clinics to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.

The district partnered with the Visiting Nurses Association to inoculate children following vaccine approval for children ages 5 to 11.

The on-site clinics are located at different elementary schools each day starting Nov. 8 and ending on Nov. 18. Each site was supplied with about 250 doses.

“I was waiting for it,” Mahrya Burnett, a parent who got her two children their first dose during the first clinic on Monday, said. “I was really happy when it got approved.”

The sites do not take scheduled appointments and all appointments are walk-ins.

Ed Gillan, a parent of children in Iowa City schools and University of Iowa associate professor of chemistry, said that getting his 9-year-old son Liam the COVID-19 vaccine makes him feel better about sending his son to school.

“I’m certainly a big supporter of vaccinations, especially when everybody’s back in school in person,” Gillan said. “[My son] is here every day.”

Mahrya Burnett and her kids pose for a portrait at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children at Weber Elementary School in Iowa City Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (Gabby Drees)

Gillan and his son said that they are looking forward to spending Christmas with family in California.

“We’ll be a little more comfortable with [Liam] being fully vaccinated by Christmas, so that’s great,” Gillan said.

Gillan said that his son has been looking forward to getting vaccinated for months.

RELATED: Iowa City Community School District parents ‘at ease’ with mask

“As far as shots go, [Liam’s] been asking for this for a while,” Gillan said. “He’s like ‘where’s my shot?’”

Parent Emily Lai said she was “relieved” once she heard how easy it was to walk into an elementary school to vaccinate her 8-year-old daughter.

“I think the combination of wearing masks and being fully vaccinated is going to be great,” Lai said.

From Aug. 23 to Sept 14, there was no mask mandate for students in the district, but the district instituted one after a judge halted a law prohibiting schools from mandating masks.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children made up 24 percent of COVID-19 cases from Oct 28 to Nov. 4.

Ryan O’Leary said that his 8-year-old son does not like needles, but even he is getting the vaccine to keep him safe and healthy.

“We just want to make sure we can do it at our earliest convenience,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary, his wife, and their 12-year-old have already received both doses, he said.

One of O’Leary’s twins, Haven, said a friend of hers has already been vaccinated and that she’s “excited.”

O’Leary said that while his family has taken precautions, getting the younger children vaccinated is a relief.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that children do not need to be enrolled in the Iowa City Community School District to receive a vaccine at the district’s clinics. The clinics are only for Iowa City Community School District students. The Daily Iowan regrets the error. 

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