NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) — The City of National City is rolling out its efforts to get kids under the age of 12 vaccinated, and students at Central Elementary School received their COVID-19 vaccinations Friday.
Luz Molina Lopez, her husband, and their eldest son already received their COVID-19 vaccine months ago.
She says this is the day she has been waiting for—the moment her two young sons were able to get vaccinated.
"The protection still felt like incomplete because my two younger sons needed to get vaccinated," said Lopez.
"And today's the day .. now they are. I can feel at ease knowing the protection is there."
Her son, Ben, agrees and is excited about being able to get back to some sense of normalcy. He was one of 10 students that got vaccinated at Central Elementary Friday.
No appointments are necessary and students can get the vaccine with parental consent.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, who has been an advocate of getting the vaccine, says starting next week, the pop-up vaccine clinics will be rotating at different schools.
"We want to make it convenient we want to stay in the consistency in the message of where they can go to get the vaccine for their little ones."
According to Mayor Sotelo-Solis, more than 180 families in National City have lost family members due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
So, the city has tried to stay ahead of the game, by being the first to bring vaccines directly to high school students, and now they are reaching out to the younger kids.
"The kids are already going to school every day and now they will have the chance to get their vaccine after school. Easy peasy," said Lopez.
Later on Friday, the city held a vaccination site at Central for those looking to be vaccinated after school, as well. It was the first after-school site that the city is doing as it rolls out its initiative at 10 schools in the district before and after classes start.
Sotelo-Solis said that this is the first on-school vaccination site effort for this age group in the County.
Parents like Rosario Sotello brought her two sons to the site for their shots on Friday afternoon.
“Since we were exposed to COVID, I know how hard it is to be exposed or even have COVID. So I don’t want to go through the same process that we did,” Sotello said.
“My kids want to make a difference in another child’s life.”
It’s something Sotelo-Solis hopes allows for an easier way for more children to be vaccinated.
"We have 4,000 students total in National School District and, when we take this show on the road, there's going to be that convenience factor of before school from 6:30 to 8:30 or after school from 3:30 to 5:30,” Sotelo-Solis said.
While being the first is one thing, the why behind it means a lot for this community.
“We were one of the hardest-hit communities with some of the highest positive COVID rates,” Sotelo-Solis said.
"For me as an elected official, I wanted to make that bridge so that our children could have the easiest access - and the parents for that matter - easiest access to the vaccine."
Sotello said this is something that she’s grateful for.
"My respects to the people that are doing and I feel proud of it and honored of them coming to our school,” Sotello
You can find the schedule for the vaccine site dates, locations, and times here.