HKIS Gets Vaxxed!
MARCH 27, 2022 - 3 MIN READ
Not throwing away our...shots! A student receives his vaccine at the Children’s Hospital.
In February 2022, two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, children aged three and up were able to get vaccinated in Hong Kong at last. Coincidentally, cases in our city also started to increase at that moment, and Hong Kong’s fifth Covid-19 wave began in earnest.
While getting a Covid-19 vaccine remains a personal choice, HKIS was committed to doing everything it could to protect our student body and be prepared to “get back to normal” with classes on campus. Already, over 99% of our administrators, faculty, and support staff had been vaccinated, along with over 90% of students aged 12 and up, who had been eligible since the fall.
But what of the youngest students? Because of the anxiety around the fifth wave, which saw Hong Kong’s Covid-19 numbers skyrocket to a level unheard of in the previous two years of the pandemic, there was a scramble to get young students vaccinated quickly, and booking appointments was near impossible. So, HKIS began partnering with the Hong Kong government to book group appointments. The logistics of this were eye-watering: Nearly 500 students wanted to participate in HKIS’s BioNTech vaccine program, vaccines which were at the time only administered in specialized centers on the other side of Hong Kong. The government required a raft of paperwork that HKIS needed to cross-check and submit ahead of the appointments as well as brought along on the day. Thankfully, Ms. Yvette Tang, a Lower Primary School secretary, stepped up to this challenge and worked with the government to collect this information.
Parents and administrators encourage students receiving their vaccinations.
And who other than HKIS’s Data Services Manager Adam Pecher to organize and summarize this vast quantity of information and provide each student with an exact appointment time. On top of that, Ms. Tang organized seats on buses to get each student (plus a guardian!) to the appointments.
And so February 16, 2022 arrived: HKIS was the first school in Hong Kong to take advantage of group bookings on the first day this vaccine was available to children under 12. Students and their grown-ups arrived in Repulse Bay to board buses to the Children’s Hospital in Kowloon Bay, with Lower Primary students arriving first, Upper Primary students the following day, and the third group of students, those with teacher parents, arriving once the school day was over. Lower and Upper Primary administrators Mr. Heney, Ms. Mendez, Mr. Hart, and Ms. Granquist all showed up at different moments over the two days to encourage students, who were already happier — what’s better than being surrounded by their friends, who were in the same boat?
With that great start, HKIS’s vaccine dream team helped other students who wanted the Sinovac vaccine get their jabs a couple of weeks later, and booked a second round of appointments for families unable to join the first BioNTech appointments. Not to be left out, Middle School ran separate group bookings for Grade 6 students, with nurse Clara Pang leading the charge, helping over 60 students with their appointments. To channel the musical
— we’re not throwing away our shots!
Students are proud and happy to be done!