At P.S. 321 William Penn in Park Slope, close to 90% of the 1,200-plus eligible elementary schoolers are vaccinated.
On the other side of Prospect Park, at P.S. 092 Adrian Hegeman in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, just 13% of students reported the same.
Recently released data from the New York City Department of Education showed wide variations in student vaccination rates from school to school, leaving many children unprotected against future outbreaks. Elementary school students, in particular, were under-vaccinated compared to older children, the data showed.
The figures arrived as the city and state at large began dropping vaccine and mask mandates, signaling an end to many of the mitigation measures that characterized the first two years of the pandemic. That shift included New York City schools, where children older than 5 were no longer required to wear masks as of this week.
COVID cases in New York City are way down from their omicron peak, with an average of 610 new confirmed infections per day over the last week, statistics showed. That’s still three times higher than past lulls, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that vaccines and testing alone were enough to manage the pandemic in areas where COVID transmission and hospitalizations are low.
All of New York City currently falls in the "low risk" category, making vaccination a priority for keeping COVID rates in check.
Overall, 52% of eligible public school students are fully inoculated against COVID, according to the DOE data.
Some schools are way behind: 295 campuses have a quarter or less of their student bodies fully vaccinated.
Others are well ahead of the curve: about 140 schools, mostly serving older students, have vaccinated more than three-quarters of eligible children.
Data was available for about 1,580 schools.
On average, middle and high schools have higher vaccination rates than elementary schools. That makes sense given 12- to 17-year-old children became eligible for COVID vaccines in spring 2021. About two-thirds of public high school students are fully vaccinated, compared to 37% of those attending K-5 schools. Youngsters ages 5 to 11 were only able to get the shots starting last fall.
COVID hospitalizations and deaths are uncommon among children, but patients in this age group are at risk of a rare, serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
In New York City, 35 children have died from COVID since the pandemic began, according to data from the health department. But an uptick occurred during the omicron wave — with a half dozen pediatric fatalities recorded in the early months of this year.
A recent study by the New York State Department of Health suggests that the protection provided by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine wanes over time in face of the omicron variant, making infections more likely. It also found lower protection against infection in elementary school-aged children compared to other age groups.
But the shot still guards against the worst outcomes of the disease, as expected based on its clinical trial results and design.
Some of the least vaccinated schools are in neighborhoods hit especially hard by the pandemic. In Prospect Lefferts Gardens, where P.S. 092 is located, the total COVID case rate is nearly twice that of the entire city’s, and the death rate is 50% higher.
Nathaniel Styer, a spokesperson for the city’s education department, said in a written statement that department officials will work to get more students vaccinated, particularly in areas with low rates.
You can look up specific schools’ vaccination rates and COVID case rates here: