PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia School District is getting help to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among its students. On Tuesday, it began a new program to make COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots more easily accessible.
A partnership between the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and the School District of Philadelphia began Tuesday with its first vaccination clinic inside Paul Robeson High School, starting a month-long initiative to make vaccines for students more accessible.
"What we're doing is actually taking vaccination clinics to where the people are," said Monica Lewis, a spokesperson with the School District of Philadelphia. "We realize that there are certain communities in the city of Philadelphia where the vaccination rates are low and the positivity rates are high."
A strategic vaccination clinic tour is targeting underserved schools and communities throughout the city.
"Today would just be for students, family, and staff members," Lewis said. "Then, on Thursday, they'll actually open it up to communities at large."
Renowned physician and head of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, Dr. Ala Stanford, spoke to students during a school assembly encouraging them to get vaccinated.
Eyewitness News spoke with Stanford just before the tour began.
"Right now, we know our vaccination rates for white children is about 24%, for Latinx children is 12%, and for Black children is 8% in our city of Philadelphia," Stanford said, "and we also know in the unvaccinated right now, we are seeing cases through the roof, and, particularly, in our children."
Doctors say vaccination rates for children throughout the city are low for a myriad of reasons, including lack of access, absence of trust, and misinformation. School officials hope this collaboration will allay any fears with vaccinations coming directly into the communities where they're most needed.
Nine schools in underserved communities in the city will be targeted. More could be added as school officials say this vaccination clinic tour could stretch into not just one but two months.
Here's the schedule of the tour: Juniata Park (Jan. 24, 25); Strawberry Mansion (Jan. 26, 27); Webster (Jan. 31, Feb. 1); Northeast High (Feb. 2, 3); John B. Kelly (Feb. 7, 8); Chester Arthur (Feb. 14, 15); and South Philly High (Feb. 16, 17).
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