Hosting Vaccination Clinics: Best Practices for School Districts and Early Care and Education (ECE) Programs

A Guide for School District and Early Care and Education (ECE) Program Administrators

Parents and children waiting in line at a school located clinic

Schools and early care and education (ECE) programs are a large part of daily life for many children and their families and play an important role in COVID-19 prevention. As a result, schools and ECE programs are uniquely positioned to teach about, link families to, or even assist in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccination programs located in schools and ECE centers can help make COVID-19 vaccination as accessible as possible to children.

The information on this page can serve as a roadmap for how school district and ECE program administrators can work directly with health departments and other vaccine providers such as pediatric clinics to set up vaccination clinics in places that children and their families know and trust.

Steps to Hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic in Your School District or ECE Program

1. Partner with a COVID-19 vaccine provider.

Vaccine providers include local health departments, community health centers, pediatric clinics, pharmacies, children’s hospitals, and other medical providers.

For help with the identification of an appropriate vaccine provider:

  • First, you should follow existing guidance, for example, from your local or state health department, regarding who to partner with for vaccination clinics. You can consider partnering with providers you have used for flu vaccination clinics and providers local schools used for COVID-19 vaccination clinics for older children. Schools and ECE programs can contact your state, territorial, local or tribal health department, or Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agencies, following your standard lines of communication, regarding potential partners.
  • You can also visit vaccines.gov to identify vaccine providers near you and can contact pharmacies directly to request a vaccination clinic.

2. Define roles and responsibilities.

While COVID-19 vaccine providers are typically responsible for all clinical operations and reporting, school districts and ECE programs play a critical role in engaging children and their families.

Sample roles and responsibilities:

CDC guidance supports coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines ─ including influenza vaccines, without regard to timing.

Determine with your vaccine provider whether your clinics will offer influenza vaccination or other routine vaccinations for children who are behind in their vaccinations because of the pandemic and whether your clinics will offer vaccinations for staff and families.

3. Pick a date and a location.

  • Pick a convenient, trusted location for your vaccination clinic.
  • Determine the days and hours of operation to allow parents and caregivers with varying work schedules and transportation options the opportunity to accompany their children if desired.
  • Discuss options with vaccine providers for hosting clinics at the provider location (e.g., clinic, doctor’s office, or pharmacy) to reduce logistics burden for schools.
  • If resources are limited but need to be distributed across multiple schools or ECE programs, consider offering one clinic at a central location for all schools in your district.

4. Begin outreach to schools, programs, families, and healthcare providers.

As a school district and ECE program administrator, you will play a critical role in engaging schools and facilities in your district or program, and in educating parents.

  • Draft letters or use customizable content and letter templates to share information about the upcoming vaccination clinic(s) with teachers, care providers, and families. Include general vaccination information in these communications, especially that COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone and individuals can receive a vaccine regardless of immigration or insurance status.
  • To amplify and engage your community, consider posting on social media, sharing signage, and leveraging trusted messengers in your community.

Outreach strategies by audience

5. Host your clinic.

  • Work with the vaccine provider to finalize the operations of your event.
  • Continue to engage your community, including day-of reminders.
  • Provide a post-vaccination letter to parents with information about potential side effects, timing of the next dose (if relevant), and other important information.
Page last reviewed: June 17, 2022