Seattle, Washington: Public Schools COVID-19 Vaccination Program


Seattle Public Schools hosted COVID-19 vaccination clinics at schools to easily reach target demographics.


COVID-19 infection can lead to negative health and education outcomes in children. At the end of 2021, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) children had lower vaccination rates than adults, with demographic subgroups having even lower rates. The overall COVID-19 vaccination series completion rate among SPS children ages 5-18 was 56.5% in December of 2021, with non-Hispanic Black or African American and multilingual students having the lowest vaccination rates. SPS was positioned to address this issue, given their direct involvement with children and proximity to families.


SPS implemented a multi-faceted program to raise COVID-19 vaccination rates among their students during the 2021-2022 school year, with a special focus on demographic groups. The program focused on children ages 5-11 from November 2021 to June 2022 and focused on populations with lower vaccination rates from January to June 2022. SPS utilized Washington State Immunization Information System (WAIIS) data to track vaccination progress across different demographics, including race, ethnicity, language, special education service, and school equity tier. SPS and Washington Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) staff also collected supplemental qualitative and descriptive data. Elements of the program included vaccination clinics hosted at schools, strategic messaging, and community engagement. SPS hosted vaccination clinics at 54 different schools with the assistance of PHSKC, vaccinating children who provided written parental consent. Vaccination clinics were hosted both during and after school hours, including weekends, with non-school-hour clinics open to both SPS students and their families. Culturally competent vaccine providers were selected for these clinics based on their positionality to impacted subgroups in the broader Seattle community. SPS conducted culturally and linguistically accommodating communication with families about these clinics. Examples included text-based communication in six languages and the provision of various COVID-19 toolkits. Community connections were also leveraged to promote the program, including community and faith-based organizations.


Primary COVID-19 vaccination series completion rates for SPS children ages 5-18 increased from 56.5% in December 2021 to 71.5% by January 2022, to 80.3% by June 2022. Low-vaccination schools and subgroups saw increases in vaccination rates, particularly the 5-11 age group. However, non-Hispanic Black or African American and multilingual students still had the lowest overall vaccination rates. Program evaluation is subject to six limitations.

Supplemental Resource

Years: 2021, 2022

Locations: Washington State

Programmatic Areas: Adolescent Immunization, Adult Immunization, COVID-19, Partnerships, Public Health Functions, school immunizations, Schools

Key Words: Adolescents, COVID-19, Cultural Competence, Culturally Appropriate, Health Equity, Health Promotion, local health department, outbreak management, Partnership, school immunizations, Schools

Evidence Based: No

Evaluations: Limited

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