Getting vaccinated can be scary for young children. But an incentive – like a visit to a fun museum – can go a long way in alleviating nerves and making the vaccination experience easier, and even enjoyable, for families and their kids.
That’s why when the FDA first authorized COVID vaccinations for children in the U.S., the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose (CDM) immediately knew that it could play a unique role in helping vaccinate children. CDM teamed up with Santa Clara County Public Health Department to host creative vaccination clinics while also offering every participating family a pass for a free museum visit. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) provided funding to help CDM cover outreach expenditures and underwrite the costs of the free museum admissions tickets.
“Parents have a lot on their plate and we want to help. These clinics offer a two-shop stop for busy parents – they can get their child vaccinated and also enjoy a visit to the museum,” said Marilee Jennings, executive director of Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. “We’re proud to play a role in bringing us one step closer to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and we’re grateful for the many partners like Silicon Valley Community Foundation who are helping make these clinics possible.”
Though the Bay Area boasts some of the highest COVD vaccination rates in the country, there are still significant racial disparities in our region. Last fall, the Mercury News found that in five core Bay Area counties including Santa Clara, only 52 percent of Black youth and 68 percent of Latinx youth had received at least one shot, compared with 85% of all students.
With the goal of addressing these disparities, CDM’s vaccination clinics target local families who are primarily of Latinx descent and are low-income, qualifying for programs such as free lunch at school.CDM’s approach to prioritizing vaccinations in communities of color resonates deeply with SVCF’s efforts to center equity and racial justice in its overall work.
“As we look to rebuild a better, more just and equitable Silicon Valley, SVCF focuses resources and funding to support communities facing the harshest circumstances – including Black, Latinx, Indigenous people and those of undocumented status,” said Gina Dalma, executive vice president of community action, policy and strategy at SVCF. “Vaccine access is just one of the ways to move the needle on racial justice in our region, and we are proud to support Children Discovery Museum as they work to ensure that no one is left behind during vaccinations, and that children and their families enjoy a day of discovery and fun at the museum."
CDM’s inaugural 7-hour pop-up vaccination clinic, which took place on January 4, 2022, was a success. By the end of the day, health workers had administered 238 vaccinations, primarily pediatric first doses and adult boosters, and CDM distributed an equal number of free museum passes.
One of the mothers who attended the pop-up clinic shared that her daughter didn’t want to get vaccinated and was scared of getting a shot. The mother reassured her and said, “Yes, but we’re going to the Children’s Discovery Museum and you’ll get your vaccination and then we’ll stay and play.” According to the mother, that made all the difference in the world to her daughter and suddenly getting the shot was “going to be alright.”
CDM’s next vaccination clinic will take place on Sunday, January 23, 2022. To learn more, visit https://www.cdm.org/vaccination/
Watch SVCF CEO Nicole Taylor’s interview on ABC 7 about the community foundation’s support of Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.