Brandon Cobb (thumbs up), son of Brynn Cobb (in hat) gets vaccinated Tuesday.
Brandon Cobb (thumbs up), son of Brynn Cobb (in hat) gets vaccinated Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
COVID K-12

School vaccine clinics target Santa Cruz County students 16 & up — with aim to inoculate all 6,000 of them

On Tuesday, students from several schools flocked to Scotts Valley High to get their first shots through a partnership between the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Dignity Health. Another student vaccine clinic is set for Wednesday at Pajaro Valley High School.

Coast Redwood High sophomore Andy Matessa saw his first COVID-19 vaccination as a milestone moment.

“I kind of feel like I’m part of history, you know,” Matessa said after leaving a student vaccine clinic at Scotts Valley High School on Tuesday. “I was in there and I even heard some people saying like, ‘This is a major accomplishment for our country — just getting all these vaccines out so quickly.’”

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For other teens, vaccination loomed a little less large.

San Lorenzo Valley High School junior Jackson Kueny said he’d forgotten about his Tuesday appointment until reminded by his mom, Megan Kueny.

“I haven’t put a lot of thought towards it,” Kueny said. Still, he added, “it’s the first step, I suppose — moving towards being able to do everything like we used to.”

The two students are among more than 1,500 across Santa Cruz County receiving — or set to receive — their first vaccine dose this week. Eligibility opened up to all Californians 16 and older last week, but securing an appointment can still prove challenging.

Students await vaccinations at Scotts Valley High on Tuesday.
Students await vaccinations at Scotts Valley High on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

To ease that path, local education and health officials are teaming up with provider Dignity Health to offer vaccine clinics to eligible high school students.

About 6,000 high school students fall within that group. The hope is to offer all of them an initial dose within the next three weeks, according to Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Faris Sabbah.

Health workers were administering Pfizer doses to students on Tuesday.

“We’ve asked the county for additional vaccines for next week — so all of those, we’re hoping that’s going to materialize,” Sabbah said.

Another student vaccine clinic is set for Wednesday at Pajaro Valley High School.

A student gets vaccinated by a Dignity Health staffer at Scotts Valley High School on Tuesday.
A student gets vaccinated by a Dignity Health staffer at Scotts Valley High School on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

At Scotts Valley High, parents were welcoming the sudden availability of vaccines for their children. Several said they learned of the clinic via email last week. And it came as a pleasant surprise for families scrambling to find vaccine appointments elsewhere.

“The fact that this came up through the school, I just jumped right on it,” Megan Kueny said.

Brynn Cobb, father of a Coast Redwood High sophomore, agreed. “It definitely made the process of getting [my son] vaccinated easier,” Cobb said. His son, Brandon, gave a thumbs-up as he was getting his shot.

Tanya Krause, superintendent of the Scotts Valley Unified School District,
Tanya Krause, superintendent of the Scotts Valley Unified School District, welcomes students to a vaccination clinic at Scotts Valley High School on Tuesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

For SLV High sophomore Isaiah Eastbrooks-Ring, Tuesday’s clinic was a chance to see some of his classmates in person for the first time in more than a year.

That, Eastbrooks-Ring said, is the main reason he’s eager to get fully vaccinated. “I really want to get to the point where I can safely be around my friends again,” he said.