EUSTIS, Fla. – It was just 90 minutes after school on Monday, Eustis High School’s colorful senior parking lot was transformed into a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination center.
Lake County Schools and crews with the Lake County Department of Health are offering the Pfizer vaccine to students as young as 16 at events across five high schools this week.
Monday was the first day the State of Florida opened up vaccine eligibility for those 16 and older. Pfizer is the only vaccine with emergency use authorization in teens as young as 16.
“The CDC changed the guidelines a while back that if you are fully vaccinated you don’t have to quarantine,” Superintendent Diane Kornegay said. “One positive could quarantine a large number of staff and we’ve seen that happen, so not having to quarantine when you come in contact with a positive person is huge. Just think of the learning that remains constant and the teaching that remains constant.”
Father Will Edins was the first in line with his 16-year-old son Kyle on Monday afternoon.
He is grateful he didn’t have to spend hours online searching for an appointment.
“I just want my kids to be safe, I want them to be protected,” he said. “I thought it was a great opportunity. Lake County Schools has really put their best foot forward by opening this up to students. I think it’s great.”
Not far behind from Edins, was mom Rosaura Rubio and her daughter Anabelise, 17, a senior at Mount Dora High School.
“We want to stay safe and get this behind us and move on with our lives,” mom Rosaura said. “I think every parent should take advantage of this.”
For Anabelise, she’s already missed out on so much of her senior year and she doesn’t want to miss out on her last summer before college.
“Graduation is going to be limited, we couldn’t do fun pep rallies and stuff like that,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything. This is going to be my last summer before college, before becoming an adult and I want to be able to have fun and not be scared of anything.”
According to Lake County Schools, students who are 16 and 17 years old must have a parent or guardian with them when getting the vaccine. Also, anyone who comes must fill out this consent form.
A school spokesperson said the Department of Health in Lake County will not turn anyone away as well, if you are 18 and older you will be eligible to simply drive up for your vaccine at any of the events at the high schools this week.
Lake County School officials said Pfizer vaccines will be offered at high schools across the county and based on the following distribution schedule:
- Eustis High School from 3-6 p.m. 1st dose 4/5 2nd dose 4/26
- South Lake High School from 3-6 p.m. 1st dose 4/6 2nd dose 4/27
- Leesburg High School from 3-6 p.m. 1st dose 4/6 2nd dose 4/27
- Lake Minneola High School from 2-6 p.m. 1st dose 4/7 2nd dose 4/28
- Tavares High School from 3-6 p.m. 1st dose 4/8 2nd dose 4/29