Lenape Regional district vaccinates 518, with help from Walmart

Retailer partnered with school officials to put together May clinic

Sierra Navarro smiles with her vaccination card in hand after receiving her first dosage of Pfizer vaccine at Lenape High School. (Isabella DiAmore/The Sun)

After the state of New Jersey announced on May 13 that children 12 to 15 years old are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine, Walmart Pharmacist partnered with the Lenape Regional High School District to put together a May 20 vaccination clinic.

Five hundred and eighteen Pfizer vaccines were distributed to residents of the Burlington County area at Lenape High. 

“Walmart reached out to us …” recalled  Assistant Superintendent Matthew Webb. “We were thrilled; we knew the more students that get vaccinated, the closer we are to normal.”

Superintendent Dr. Carol Birnbohm announced via Twitter on May 14 that students in the required age range could sign up for shots through Genesis, a free online registration site.

“We’re providing the space and we’re helping to get the word out,” Birnbohm noted before the clinic. “[Walmart’s] providing vaccines, pharmacists and registering folks.”

Walmart had a total of 1,400 vaccines to give out, with walk-ins welcomed. Parents and students gathered on the north side cafeteria door of Lenape, where each school’s marching band provided music.

Walmart required health forms to be completed and a parent permission slip, if needed before it would proceed with shots. 

Students were thrilled about the easy access, although Sierra Navarro, from Thomas E.  Harrington Middle School in Mt. Laurel, was nervous before the shot.

“I thought it was best to keep my family and my sisters safe,” Navarro said of the vaccine. “I miss going to school, I miss playing lacrosse and I miss going to the movies.” 

Cheyenne Hanzley, a student at Indian Mills Memorial School, was excited about the clinic and thought it was a great way to encourage the community to get vaccinated. 

“The more people that get vaccinated, the less it’s going to spread,” she explained. “I just want to go out with my friends.”  

Haddon Heights resident and Lenape alum Dr. Derek Billetdoux, a pharmacist for Walmart in West Berlin, administered the Pfizer vaccines.

“We have such a unique situation going on with this global pandemic, and there’s a lot of controversy whether people believe or whether they don’t believe in vaccines,” he noted. “I think the important thing is that we all need to work together as one huge global community to give people the access they need.”

Those who received their first dosage at the clinic will need to get their second dosage on June 10 at Lenape. Hours will be 3 to 7:30 p.m.