Mac vaccine clinic doles out 383 first-dose Pfizer shots

Event sponsored by Austin Latino Coalition and U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association coincides with federal approval of COVID vaccine for 12-15 year olds

From+3%3A30+until+8+p.m.%2C+today%2C+the+McCallum+cafeteria+was+the+site+of+a+vaccine+clinic+for+anyone+12+years+or+older.+The+clinic+was+sponsored+by+the+Austin+Latino+Coalition+and+the+U.S.+Hispanic+Contractors+Association.+The+clinic+delivered+first-dose+Pfizer+vaccine+shots+to+383+arms.++

Dave Winter

From 3:30 until 8 p.m., today, the McCallum cafeteria was the site of a vaccine clinic for anyone 12 years or older. The clinic was sponsored by the Austin Latino Coalition and the U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association. The clinic delivered first-dose Pfizer vaccine shots to 383 arms.

Madelynn Niles, co-copy editor, co-A&E editor

At 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, a line of hundreds extended out from the main entrance for the Mac-hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Because the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the FDA this Monday on an emergency use basis for the 12 to 15 age group, the event allowed shots for all McCallum students, as well as students from neighboring schools and districts — which proved to be the majority of participants in the clinic this afternoon.

Hosted by Curative and in partnership with The Austin Latino Coalition, the vaccine distribution lasted until 8 p.m. in McCallum’s cafeteria. For Mac sophomore Evelyn Cox, this allowed a vaccination opportunity just days after the FDA announcement. 

“I’m 15, so I haven’t been able to get the shot until now, ” Cox said. “I’m excited. No other feeling than just really excited.”

LASA sophomore Luci Garza was among the 383 AISD community members who received first-dose shots of the Pfizer vaccine in the McCallum cafeteria today. (Dave Winter)

Cox also felt that hosting the clinic on campus could attract positive attention from the community. 

“It will draw future students in, I feel like,” she said. “It shows that we are actually trying to make a difference, and make a statement.”

Her younger brother Nathan, a sixth grader at Lamar, added that although he’s not fond of shots, he was also happy for the opportunity. 

Their father Joseph Cox, too, was beyond grateful that McCallum was offering vaccinations for the younger teens.

“I am ecstatic,” he said. “This was my high school, too, and I am just so glad that McCallum is doing this. I’m ready for my kids to be vaccinated.”

As for the distribution, Curative team members worked alongside McCallum student council and PALS volunteers to orchestrate the event. Gage Sanchez, a junior in the PALS program, aided in guiding people on campus.

“I thought it would be a great way to help out,” Sanchez said. “I have yet to get my vaccine, but I thought that in the meantime it would be a great way to help out people get theirs.”

Like the Cox family, Sanchez felt pride in Mac for hosting the clinic.

“I know most people have to go to Pflugerville or something to get their shot, and I know the neighborhoods around McCallum are really kid-populated, so our school is a great epicenter for this to happen,” he said. “I really valued how McCallum was able to step up and help provide something that so many people are in need of right now.”

I know the neighborhoods around McCallum are really kid-populated, so our school is a great epicenter for this to happen.”

— junior Gage Sanchez, a PALS member who volunteered at today's vaccine clinic

According to principal Nicole Griffith, McCallum’s participation in the clinic was primarily providing space for the vaccinations to occur.

“Schools are really a safe place for a lot of people,” Griffith said. “So this is not something we came up with — what we did was say ‘Oh yeah, sure! We can have a vaccine clinic here!’ And I think this is great; the more people that can get vaccinated, the safer people feel.”

Even before the event, Griffith felt that the turnout would be large — especially after the approval for younger ages.

“I did expect it to be big,” she said. “There is a need for it, and people really want to be able to get the vaccine. I think students want to get the vaccine and I think parents want their students to get the vaccine. Not all families, of course; everyone has that choice to make. But I know that the demand was there.”

Looking forward, Griffith stated that Mac is planning to host a clinic for a second round of Pfizer shots, as well as potentially other first round opportunities.

“If we can be a place to host another vaccine clinic in the future, we will. If the opportunity comes across my desk again, I would be happy to do it.”

The early line outside the school spanned from the circle drive entrance all the way to the fine arts buildings, and the evening line inside the school stretched from the main hallway all the way to the English hallway. Photos by Dave Winter.