Members of the St. Viator High School community and residents in Arlington Heights and surrounding areas were able to receive COVID-19 vaccines June 10 when the school partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health to host and drive-thru vaccination event. “It’s a drive-thru clinic,” said school nurse Pamela Kelly. “That way it kept people out of the building as much as possible and also allowed them to bring entire families and not have to navigate their way through the building.” People drove their cars into the school parking lot, where volunteers checked them in and then directed them to parking spaces on the east side of the school. Nurses brought the vaccine to each car. Kelly has been working with the Illinois Department of Public Health throughout the school year trying to find a way to provide vaccinations to the school community. She called it a “labor of love.” “I was calling every day and then finally we got a breakthrough because we have a large international population,” Kelly said. “Now that we did it, hopefully we can keep doing it as they continue to roll out more vaccines and more people become eligible.” She also thinks it would make a good setup to administer flu shots in the future. People registered in advance to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and they will return on July 1 for their second dose. The school received nearly 200 doses of the vaccine. “We’re just trying to give people access who may or may not have had access previously,” she said. Because Pfizer is available to children as young as 12, many students or future students registered to receive it, Kelly said. “There are a lot of kids saying, ‘I want it.’ My 9-year-old is already saying, ‘Can I get it?’” Kelly said. Michal Brankin just graduated from St. Viator and came with her family to receive the vaccine. “I came out personally because my brother is immuno-compromised, so I felt it was important that I get vaccinated for his safety and for other people who aren’t able to get vaccinated and for their safety,” she said. Brankin said the shot felt like “just a pinch” and that getting her ears pierced hurt worse. She hopes other people receive the vaccine too. “Rather than looking at it that you’re doing it for yourself, look at it that you’re doing it for everyone else who can’t. You’re doing it for other people to help stop the spread and hopefully minimize the lives that have been lost,” Brankin said. Gail Jones was one of several St. Viator parents who volunteered during the event. “This year, [St. Viator High School staff] have done everything that they could to keep these kids in school all year long. We want to see that continue and just give everyone an opportunity to get a vaccination easily,” Jones said. Teachers and staff also volunteered. “I’m personally so grateful that we are doing this drive-thru vaccination clinic today, especially since Pfizer got approval for the 12- to 17-year-olds. I teach freshman English honors and I want to make sure my kids get vaccinated to come back to school in the fall,” said Jamey Miller. Cardinal Cupich has consistently encouraged people to get a COVID-19 vaccine and the Archdiocese of Chicago is conducting a campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes resources for parishes.