As students throughout New York State returned to school over the past week, Governor Hochul announced the launch of a #VaxToSchool campaign. The campaign is aimed at getting more 12-17-year-old students vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The CDC states that the number of children being hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased since early-July when the Delta variant arrived. Adolescents can contract and spread the virus, and they are at risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and even death.

The New York State Department of Health is currently investigating more than 500 reported cases and at least 2 deaths in New York of an inflammatory condition “MIS-C” which is predominantly in school-aged children who experience symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like symptoms, possibly due to COVID-19. Overall, 98 percent of children displaying these symptoms have tested positive for COVID-19 either by diagnostic testing, antibody testing, or both.

The NYSDOH urges all school-aged children 12 years and older to get their free COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. At the moment, children under the age of 18 may only get the Pfizer version of the vaccine.

Vaccine Facts:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, which includes studies in adolescents.
  • Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.
  • Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit or at separate visits without any waiting period between vaccines.

Prepare for your child’s vaccination visit

  • Get tips for how to support your child before, during, and after the visit.
  • Talk to your child before the visit about what to expect.
  • It’s okay to ask questions. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider or a trusted licensed medical professional in your community about concerns you many have. You can also visit the dedicated resources and FAQs.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination, you will be asked to stay for 15–30 minutes so your child can be observed in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need immediate treatment.

Find a vaccine provider here