Eligible Washington teens can schedule COVID-19 vaccine through closed clinic

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox
John Pettibone Community Center in New Milford

John Pettibone Community Center in New Milford

Kateland Kelly / Contributed photo

WASHINGTON — In a few weeks, there will be lots of teenagers inside the John Pettibone Community Center in New Milford. All students 16 and older in the town of Washington will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through a closed clinic at the center, at a date as yet unannounced.

Washington First Selectman Jim Brinton is coordinating this opportunity with the New Milford Health Department.

“We let parents know that we will make the opportunity available. There are no requirements at this time for our students to be vaccinated but if parents want to take advantage, we are coordinating bus transportation to the clinic. If parents are interested, they can notify us so we can secure the doses,” said Megan Bennett, superintendent for Region 12, which includes students from Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington.

“We are so appreciate of Selectman Jim Brinton’s efforts in coordinating this and really pushing forward for a healthy community,” Bennett added.

Aside from Shepaug Valley School, students from the The Glenholme School and The Frederick Gunn School, as well all home schooled and distance learning students, can also take advantage of this opportunity.

“Once we know how many doses are necessary, we’ll be able to provide the date and make certain that our students have the access to the vaccine,” Bennett said.

While the clinic, which will be at the John Pettibone Community Center, is not open yet, students 16 and older can register now by notifying their school.

“We also recognize right now, the only vaccine that is available to kids who are 16 and 17 is Pfizer, so it becomes very important that we’re securing the right amount and that when we have that in hand, we make certain that’s when we can set the date for the clinic itself,” Bennett said.

Students have until early next week to make their final request. All communication is directly with students and families.

The schools are coordinating for both doses of the vaccine, which are taken three weeks apart. “Until we have all of the information, everything is tentative when scheduling,” Bennett said.

In the two days the opportunity was made available, approximately 70 percent, or about 100 students, have registered for the vaccine from Shepaug Valley School alone.

“This response is only a positive reflection on us working towards a healthier tomorrow,” she said.

Once all the doses are secured, each of the three schools will share their numbers with the New Milford Health Department, and the New Milford Health Department works with them for a vaccination date.

“We were thrilled when the Department of Health reached out and we talked about these closed clinics that are just for our students,” Washington First Selectman Jim Brinton said. “Anybody who has an opportunity, I would highly, highly encourage them to take advantage of this.”

sfox@milfordmirror.com