Chicago Public Schools will be closed on November 12, 2021 as part of the city’s effort to vaccinate children one week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a vaccine for people under 11 years old.
Called Vaccination Awareness Day, the day off for students will also include paid time off to city employees who can take two hours away from work to have their children vaccinated or get their own vaccinations.
“Pediatric vaccines give parents and guardians the opportunity to ensure the safety of their young ones, which in turn will not only make the spaces in which they interact with others safer, but propel us toward accomplishing our citywide goal of vaccinating as many of our residents as possible,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who made the announcement at the University of Chicago Medicine, Comer Children’s Hospital.
“To make it even easier to connect residents of all ages to the vaccine, the city is allowing employees to take time to get themselves or their families vaccinated on November 12. While you
don’t have to wait until that day to get your child or yourself vaccinated, we’re taking these special steps to ensure people have the time to get it done and encourage other institutions and private businesses to follow the city’s example.”
Libraries and parks will be open November 11 and 12. Libraries will provide computer access, grab-n-go kits, information about the vaccines, and promote library cards in addition to City Key cards. Parks will have Drop and Play on November 12 and specific sites with programming in their North, Central, and South regions. For additional information regarding Vaccination Awareness Day, visit https://www.cps.edu/.
Under the city of Chicago’s Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, the testing option is only available through December 31, 2021.
Beginning January 1, 2022, employees will be required to be fully vaccinated unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption.
“We are setting aside November 12 to help as many students ages 5 and older get vaccinated as possible,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “This is an important investment in the future of this school year and the health and well-being of our students, staff and families. I hope to see our students at our CPS health care sites or with other providers on Vaccination Awareness Day.”
Parents can find more information about the COVID-19 and vaccination locations at www.chi.gov/YouthVax.
“Youth across the city have already started getting their vaccines – at doctor’s offices, children’s hospitals, clinics, and more,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Chief Dr. Allison Arwady. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect families from COVID-19, especially as we near the winter months and holiday season. We’re going to be able to gather in ways that were just not safe last year, and that is primarily because of the COVID- 19vaccines.”
Clinical trials, with thousands of volunteers, showed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be safe and effective for children age 5 and up. As with all COVID- 19 vaccines, every study, every phase, and every trial to determine the vaccine is safe for children was reviewed by the FDA and a vaccine safety group. The CDC continues to monitor the vaccine for safety but has identified no concerns around long-term impacts of the vaccine.
“As children’s health care providers, we’ve been excitedly waiting for this latest phase in the country’s vaccine roll-out,” said John Cunningham, M.D., Physician-in-Chief at University of Chicago Medicine, Comer Children’s Hospital and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago.
“Providing young children with the COVID-19 vaccine’s much-needed protection is a critically important step in our pandemic recovery. Not only will it protect them, but it will provide another important layer of virus protection to our community, especially as we head into the winter months.”