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Children wait in line to receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine at an elementary school in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

School districts across the U.S. have begun offering COVID-19 vaccine clinics following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's approval of the shot for younger patients, AP reports.

Why it matters: Many parents eagerly awaited the vaccine's approval for children ages 5-11, as the return to in-person schooling this fall was accompanied by a spike in COVID-19 cases. Now, educators see getting shots in children's arms as key to a return to normalcy in the classroom.

  • More than 250 families signed up for vaccinations through a clinic at an elementary school in Duluth, Minn., which began administering doses on Thursday.
  • Chicago Public Schools announced it is canceling school on Nov. 12 for "Vaccination Awareness Day" — an effort to boost vaccination rates among eligible students.
  • More than 30 D.C. public schools are also offering pop-up clinics in the coming weeks for first doses, with the earliest coming on Sunday, writes Axios D.C. author Chelsea Cirruzzo.

President Biden has encouraged schools to offer vaccine clinics as part of an administration push to get people vaccinated.

Yes, but: Schools offering the vaccine drives have faced pushback as politics have come to the forefront, writes AP. Misinformation surrounding the drives also has eroded trust between school districts and parents.

What they're saying: "This brings us one step closer to moving from pandemic to endemic," Minnesota superintendent John Magas said. "It allows us to reconsider things like social distancing and masking and things like that as safety permits," he added.

Go deeper

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

Nov 24, 2021 - World

New Zealand to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers from April

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand will reopen to most international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 next year, in a gradual lifting of border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Why it matters: NZ imposed some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and largely contained the virus to managed hotel quarantine facilities for returning New Zealand residents. Its economy had rebounded before Delta arrived in August and domestic restrictions returned.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.