County Health Department Planning For Fall Vaccinations

The Somerset County Health Department is beginning to plan how it will address vaccinations, especially of school children, come the Fall.

Michael McCarty, the County health department’s liaison to the township’s Advisory Board of Health, told Board members August 4 that health officials started talking about September this week.

“We’re starting to look at plans for what to do come September,” he said. “I think everyone’s a little bit on edge as to what that means when school picks up again. I haven’t seen too much as far as plans.”

“We’re starting to get plans together for what the next couple months will look like,” McCarty said.

Board member Jim Karkowski asked McCarty if there would be a push to vaccinate children in the township. Karkowski said that he’s been vaccinated, but he still has “a fear of being around my grandchildren because they are not yet 12.” Vaccines are not yet available for children younger than 12 years old.

“I can’t give specifics because I don’t know them, but I know that that was talked about this week, and I know that we are going to continue doing preparations,” McCarty said.

McCarty said teh County is done with teh mass vaccination sites, such as it had at Raritan Valley Community College. He said the emphasis now is on “pop-up” vaccination clinics.

“We do want to continue doing these pop up clinics in the communities,” he said. “Now we’re working on how we’re going to implement that in schools. We’re in a time crunch here with September just around the corner.”

Patti Elliott, the health department’s Consumer Health Coordinator, said that previous attempts at vaccination children in Franklin were not as successful as had been hoped.

“Earlier in the year, we set up some clinics in one or two of the Franklin schools,” she said. “We had a lot of interest, but when it came time to getting the vaccine, both times I think it was half the numbers that signed up showed up with their children for the vaccine.”

“We had a pretty recent successful Pfizer clinic where a good amount of 16 and under group did show up, so I think it may be a little bit of a mixed bag right now,” McCarty added.

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