State plans COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Indianapolis high school students

Marion County schools will have the opportunity to partner with Indiana to provide free field trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week so students who are 16 and older can receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Indiana State Department of Health is partnering with IMS and Indiana University Health to offer visits for eligible students who have parental consent to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The event is planned for April 30, though health officials are still gauging interest from schools, a spokesperson said.

The effort comes weeks after the state opened vaccinations to ages 16 and up, and months after many Indiana schools reopened for in-person learning. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for teens as young as 16.

During the required 15- or 30-minute observation period after receiving their shots, students may tour the speedway, according to the event flier.

Pike Township plans to participate in the event, Superintendent Flora Reichanadter said. The biggest challenge will be scheduling buses to transport students, while also transporting virtual learners to schools to take ILEARN tests.

“The more students vaccinated, the better chance of keeping students in the classrooms for the 2021-2022 school year,” Reichanadter said by email. “Our goal is to send as many students as we can.”

The state is still working out how and where vaccinated students will receive their second dose, according to an FAQ provided to schools.

Indianapolis Public Schools is also offering vaccinations to its students. The district has partnered with Walmart to host a clinic at Arsenal Technical High School on May 1. Appointments are available for IPS students, staff, and families from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students under the age of 18 will have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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