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Students in rural Pierce County get COVID-19 vaccine

Washington state data shows that just 7% of kids between ages 12 and 15 have received a COVID-19 vaccine after becoming eligible last week.

EATONVILLE, Wash. — Dozens of students in rural Pierce County received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. 

The Eatonville School District partnered with a local pharmacy to host the clinic geared toward students age 12 to 15 years old.

Krestin Bahr, superintendent for the Eatonville School District, made it clear that the decision to get children vaccinated is left up to the parents -- though she said making the vaccine available is crucial. 

"In a rural community, in a small community, we know that we do not have the services that a lot of the larger urban areas. We don’t have a regular hospital that we can send, we don’t have multiple doctors offices, people have to drive very far," Bahr said.

"That has been our entire goal is to get students in school, in-person learning with their teachers," she continued.

Siblings Grace and Carl Lucas both were excited to receive a shot.

"It’s kind of exciting because you get to do more things, you could probably end up going more places," Grace said.

"I think that just our whole family was really excited to get the vaccine just to get closer to normal than we have been for this last year," her brother, Carl added.

The Lucas family is ahead of the curve. 

Data from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shows just 7% of kids between the ages of 12 and 15 have received a COVID-19 vaccine since becoming eligible last week.  

Pierce County spent the last month in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's "Healthy Washington" reopening plan due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Countywide, just 29% of the population is fully vaccinated compared to 37% of the entire state population being fully vaccinated, according to the DOH

"I want to be very clear about our role as school officials. Our goal is to get schools open. Our eye is on the prize right now for fall of 21-22," Bahr said.

With that fall deadline quickly approaching, there is an increased sense of pressure in Pierce County to make the vaccine available to all who want it.