School holds COVID-19 vaccine clinic on campus

Jason Thompson ’22 sits for observation with pharmacist Tiffany Farshi after receiving a dose of the Moderna vaccine at the vaccine clinic.

Natasha Speiss

The school hosted a two-hour COVID-19 vaccine clinic with local pharmacy partner Elements Pharmacy for students older than 18 April 20. The clinic administered the Moderna vaccine and gave out spots on a first-come, first-served basis.

A nurse was present for the duration of the clinic in the case of negative reactions to the vaccine. The clinic was limited to students 18 and older as Moderna has not yet conducted sufficient pharmaceutical trials on minors, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Head of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Ari Engelberg ’89 said this clinic has been discussed for a few months and been in development for about a month.

“Ever since the vaccines were first approved for use, we began talking with a number of different pharmacies about whether they would be willing to run the vaccine clinic on campus,” Engelberg said.

The administration hopes to hold another vaccine clinic in the near future

The school will give the Pfizer vaccine in coming vaccine clinics with Elements Pharmacy for students over 16 years old April 26-28. Engelberg said getting more people vaccinated is essential in returning to aspects of life before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Getting more people vaccinated] allows us to return to life as we knew it, where we can eventually stop wearing masks and worrying about how close we are to people, and how well rooms are ventilated,” Engelberg said. “I believe the more students who are vaccinated, the more confidence people are going to have in returning to campus and engaging in activities that feel more like ‘normal.’ I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but getting enough people vaccinated is a significant step in that direction.”

Increased access to vaccines has allowed for many students to feel safer attending school

Paul Boardman ’21, who attended the Moderna clinic, said that he’s looking forward to seeing what getting vaccinated means for his daily life.

“I’m hoping once I get the second dose I can start going out and doing more things again,” Boardman said. “It seems like getting vaccinated is the next logical step for everyone. I think it’ll allow the campus to be more accessible and people to feel safer.”

Sophia Rascoff  ’23, who has gotten her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, said she felt eager to get vaccinated because of how her routines will change. 

“[Getting vaccinated] is the first step on the road to return to normal life,” Rascoff said. “I’ve been extremely cautious during the pandemic, worried for my family and myself. Once I feel safe and protected, I’ll be able to go out and do simple things that I haven’t yet like indoor dining, seeing friends without a mask, the list goes on and on.”

Elements pharmacist Tiffany Farshi said Elements Pharmacy has been vaccinating about a hundred people a day and holding multiple clinics at other schools and businesses.

“A lot of people [at the clinics] have been eager and some are nervous,” Farshi said. “Usually people feel more comfortable [getting vaccinated] after we give them more information about their vaccine. The county has been able to give us more and more vaccines every week, which has been great as we’re able to use them for the community.”

Although Head Prefect Cleo Maloney ’21 did not attend the Moderna clinic, she said she appreciates how the clinic is helping to make vaccinations more accessible to all members of the school community.

“I’m really happy that Los Angeles has finally allowed people ages 16 and up to get the vaccine because it’s going to help mitigate COVID-19, but also will create a more comfortable transition into in-person school,” Maloney said. “For students who may be at risk or live in a household with family members who are at risk like me, getting easy access to resources like the vaccine is a massive step towards feeling safer at school while still having the option to attend.”