School hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinic for community members

On April 1 and April 15, the School hosted a vaccine clinic for SJS community members ages 16 and older.

After an avid search for vaccination opportunities for faculty, Tesa Stark, the Director of Clinical Services, reached out to Texas Vaccine Institute. TVI offered up to 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, opening up vaccinations to more than half the Upper School student body.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., students, parents and even strangers entered the St. Luke’s parking garage for their first vaccination. While the SJS nursing staff oversaw the clinic, TVI handled the sign-ups and administered the doses. According to staff, most recipients were upbeat and excited but all were grateful. 

“It would have been fun to have music blasting out here,” nurse Stacy Degregory said. 

The clinic initially offered the vaccine only by drive-thru appointments but later opened them up to walk-ins because they had leftovers available. While walk-ins were supposedly limited to students, staff would not deny St. Luke’s workers and other surrounding neighbors who made an appearance in line. 

“Receiving the vaccine made me feel grateful and reminded me of how much I love my school,” junior Meeah Bradford said. “It showed that they don’t just care about us academically but also physically.”

It showed that they don’t just care about us academically but also physically.

— Meeah Bradford

Students and parents were impressed with the efficiency and convenience of the clinic. SJS staff stood at corners of the garage to direct cars, and most appointments lasted no longer than five minutes.

“The clinic could not have been a smoother operation,” SJS parent Kim Odom said. “I was glad for the familiarity. It wasn’t a random tent somewhere – it was a familiar location with trusted faces.”

While some students wanted the vaccine for athletic opportunities, most signed up for an appointment to protect themselves and their parents from the virus. Junior Hannah Woodhouse says that she felt freer after her vaccination and less worried for her parents. 

“I’m feeling more hopeful that things are going back to normal,” Woodhouse said.

One student, however, still feels uncomfortable after getting the vaccine. Since then, their parents have pressured them to engage in less COVID-safe activities, such as frequenting indoor restaurants and planning overseas travel.

“Everyone is aware of the severity of the pandemic. However, I find that many of my peers often overlook how important it is to stay cautious,” another student said. “We have to remain considerate even after being vaccinated.”

On March 2, Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate in Texas and opened up business to 100% capacity, both of which received disapproval from the President. With mixed messages coming from political authorities, Stark encourages students to go back to the science and data along with following state and local recommendations for protocols.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the vaccine does not ensure the stop of transmission but only lessens symptoms and decreases the spread. Stark hopes the clinic promotes a safer environment and opens up more activities for students. The Clinical Services Department will continue to strive to get more of the SJS community vaccinated as it becomes available for younger populations.