Jefferson County, Colo. — With back-to-school just around the corner, now is the perfect time for students who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to get ready to safely return for the new school year.
It is currently just over 4 weeks until the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year. Five weeks is the time frame necessary to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (21 days between doses for the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-18, 28 days for the Moderna vaccine for ages 18+), and wait two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective. By getting vaccinated now, students in Jeffco can be fully protected within a week of starting school. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) and Jeffco Public Schools (JPS) encourage everyone eligible — but especially school-aged children, teens and adults who work within the school system — to get vaccinated as soon as possible to stop preventable cases of COVID-19 before they happen.
“Last year, our students in Jefferson County missed out on so much because of COVID-19 illness, outbreaks, event cancellations and quarantines. We know that after three semesters of adapting to the some of the most difficult challenges of our lives, young people in Jeffco deserve to return to the classroom and to have as few interruptions as possible throughout the school year,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director at JCPH. “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is not only the best way to protect yourself and others, it is also the best way to avoid disruptions to in person learning. Everyone age 12 and older in Jeffco can receive a vaccine close to home and at no cost.”
In addition, we know that students who participate in sports and other school-run extracurricular activities in Jefferson County have experienced disruptions in their chosen activity’s seasons, ranging from altered schedules to missed practices and games to event cancellations. Now is the perfect time to get a vaccine and keep COVID-19 from stealing another sports season from young student athletes and their teammates, as well as to preserve the milestones for other extracurriculars, such as performances, competitions and more. Some athletes wished to wait until the end of their 2020-2021 school year and sports seasons to get vaccinated — with no school sports in season in Jeffco, these students can now seize the opportunity to get vaccinated to avoid having to miss out in the upcoming sports seasons.
“We know our community is looking forward to as normal a school year as possible, and that uninterrupted in-person learning is what's best for students,” said Tracy Dorland, Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent. “We are ready to come back together with our students, staff, families, and community members for a robust and consistent 2021-22 school year. This happens when everyone does their part to ensure we can all safely be together."
In Jefferson County, as of July 19, 72.8% (370,687) of residents ages 12+ have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While this is great progress for the county as a whole, some age groups have much lower vaccination rates than others and remain at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. Specifically, about half of adolescents ages 12-15 and more than 40% of young people ages 16-24 have not received a COVID-19 vaccine.
It’s also important to get vaccinated now to protect yourself and others from the highly transmissible and more dangerous Delta variant that has been steadily increasing in Colorado and is present in our county. This variant also affects young people more significantly than other strains. However, the good news is that people who are fully vaccinated have protection as COVID-19 vaccines are only slightly less effective against the Delta variant.
Getting a vaccine as soon as possible is critical to ensuring the best school year and fall sports season possible for our county’s young people. JCPH and our partners are hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics daily all over the county. Vaccines are safe and effective, and anyone ages 12+ can get one for free at a convenient location near them. In addition to daily pop-up vaccination clinics in parks, at local events and more, you can go to one of our permanent locations and no appointment is needed. For a complete list of locations where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine now, please visit www.jeffco.us/vaccinesignup.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit www.jeffco.us/covid-vaccine. To learn more about Jeffco Public Schools’ COVID-19 efforts, please visit https://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/restart_jeffco.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.
About Jeffco Public Schools
Jeffco Public Schools has been providing educational excellence for 70 years. The district currently serves over 82,000 students at 155 schools. We are dedicated to changing the classroom experience through Readiness for Learning, Conditions for Learning, and Learning as outlined in the Jeffco Strategic Plan.