Hundreds of Springfield teens turn up for Covid vaccination clinic

by Barbara Sherf
Posted 5/14/21

More than 575 Springfield Township students age 12 and older were vaccinated against Covid-19 at a free clinic Thursday in partnership with Keystone Hospice. 

Keystone’s Shane Kolt, Sr. …

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Hundreds of Springfield teens turn up for Covid vaccination clinic

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More than 575 Springfield Township students age 12 and older were vaccinated against Covid-19 at a free clinic Thursday in partnership with Keystone Hospice. 

Keystone’s Shane Kolt, Sr. Vice President of Operations explains how the partnership came about. 

“We were able to get access to a batch of 1000 shots and started reaching out to community groups, including the schools,” Kolt said. “We have to get to 70 percent herd immunity in the adult population and reaching out to children and teens is one way to achieve that goal.” 

Kolt noted that they are working with Montgomery County Department of Aging and Geriatric Doctors to take the vaccine to homebound elderly in the area. 

Kahlan Yaskowski, 14, and her mom, Emily, were the first in the car drive-through line at the old Erdenheim Elementary School, where volunteers flitted about taking information and administering the shots along with a sticker saying “I got vaccinated.” 

“I was very excited the second I saw it was approved and reached out to all my friends,” she said.  “I just can’t wait until my younger brother and sister can get vaccinated.”

Dr. MaryJo Yannacone, Superintendent of Schools, was on hand for the free clinic. 

“I’m thrilled that so many of our families decided to get vaccinated.,” she said. “We reached out to students at St. Genevieve’s and also the children of our staff members.  We are so grateful to Keystone Hospice for making this happen.”

Yannacone cited Keystone board member Peter Amuso and Keystone Executive Director Gail Inderwies, who is a past school board president, for making the connections. 

“The pharmacies are pretty worn out and Gail was able to put together a team to make this all happen,” Yannacone said.   

Robin Rozen, who is an administrator at Keystone, was busy volunteering. 

“It’s been thrilling to see the turnout and response,” she said. “It’s great to know that people want to help kids, and by extension their community.”

Jaylen Clifton, 15, was in line with his mom, Adrienne. 

“It’s going to give me more freedom,” he said. “I don’t even like shots, but I feel like I have no choice.  I want to feel comfortable and safe.”

Adrienne was all for getting her son vaccinated. 

“I had Covid and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” she said.

Penny Kline, 13, was excited but also anxious about getting the shot. 

“I was very excited and have been waiting a while for this,” she said. “It means a lot to now be able to see my friends again.  I’ll have much more freedom than before.”

School Board President Karen Taratuski, who was bringing her daughter to get the shot summed it up best. 

“It’s important for kids to be back in the classroom to engage with peers,” she said. “It’s all about the socialization aspect and the mental health of students has suffered. Kids are having trouble learning on their own but the mental health aspect is most important. “

Barbara Sherf can be reached through her website at www.communicationspro.com.

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