NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A major campaign to encourage parents to get their kids ages 12 and up vaccinated continues in New York City - but it soon may not even be a choice.
The city is calling it Vax to School, and Monday was the last day parents could start their kids on the vaccine series in order to be fully inoculated by the first day of classes on September 13.
Only the Pfizer vaccine has received emergency FDA authorization for kids as young as 12, and with the three-week waiting period required between doses, it takes five weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective.
Kristin Krause is heading into her sophomore year of high school.
"My parents didn't know if they wanted us to get vaccinated, and they finally said that we could because school is starting," she said. "And they didn't want us to be guaranteed out of sports and everything."
The city is also holding "Vax to School" clinics at schools across the area to encourage students to get vaccinated, along with mobile vaccine sites stationed outside of malls, school supply stores, sports practice facilities, and other locations.
So far, more than 240,000 children under 18 have been vaccinated in the city.
COVID vaccination rates for children by zip code:
Still, foot traffic was slow Monday, and the only person who received a shot at on school in Sunset Park wasn't a student or teacher but someone who lives nearby, saw the sign, and decided it was time.
"I wanted to see how the other people were reacting to the vaccine, and I know the people who I've seen and spoken to about it really didn't have too many side effects," he said. "Maybe a headache here and there. I think it was time for me to do it."
Starting on September 13, all teachers will have to be vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests.
It comes at a time when the delta variant is surging, and when some local officials are also trying to push for a remote learning option if parents and kids want it.
"I would love for every single student to be in school, but we know that may not happen," Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. "For those who aren't going to be in school, what do we do to make sure they get educated? Because we had 18 months of a lot of kids not getting educated."
Brewer is calling on the Department of Education to create a plan for students to learn remotely, even with a mask mandate in place and more shots going into the arms of students.
She worries too many families aren't comfortable yet sending their children into a classroom.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he expects that emergency authorization to become a full approval as soon as this month, and he is also now calling for a mandate that teachers to be vaccinated.
Fauci also wants cities and states to start mandating the vaccine even in schools.
"I hope that it will be in the next few weeks," he said of full FDA approval. "If that's the case, you're going to see the empowerment of local enterprises giving mandates. That could be colleges, universities, places of businesses - a whole variety, and I strongly support that. The time has come, we've got to go the extra step to get people vaccinated."
There is no word from the de Blasio administration if that will be the case in New York City, but the head of the American Federation of Teachers is calling for a requirement that teachers get vaccinated.
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