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Vaccinating school staff: How mountain counties plan to distribute doses

Vaccinating school staff: How mountain counties plan to distribute doses
Earlier this month, state health officials announced anyone working in child care or K-12 schools will be the first in Group 3 to get the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Teachers and school staff are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine across the state. Earlier this month, state health officials announced anyone working in child care or K-12 schools will be the first in Group 3 to get the vaccine.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of cars wrapped around Northern Johnston High School in Johnston County, where about 2,000 teachers and school staff received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Henderson County, a group of school staff received their first doses Wednesday through Pardee Hospital. A spokesperson with Henderson County Public Schools said volunteers will be working upcoming vaccination clinics designated to school staff.

The district said 1,300 vaccination appointments have been made available through Pardee and Blue Ridge Health, which covers every staff member interested in getting the vaccine.

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As for charter schools and early childhood education centers in the county, a spokesperson for AdventHealth said officials are working on a plan to get staff vaccinated.

“We have a great facility just across from the hospital. It’s a former market place, but we have actually transformed it into a vaccine clinic site that we can use as we get enough community public vaccines available. And in this case, we would be able to bring in teachers and work them through in a very efficient and effective way,” AdventHealth communication director Victoria Dunkle said.

The hospital said it is working on getting a better sense of how many educators and school staff are interested in receiving the vaccine, as well as how large shipment sizes will be from the state.

“When we have these conversations, and we have the vaccine in hand, we will get them into those arms,” Dunkle said.

VACCINE GUIDE: HOW TO REGISTER FOR COVID-19 VACCINE, COUNTY BY COUNTY

In Buncombe County, school administrators are sending a list of educators and school staff interesting in getting vaccinated to the county. The county will then schedule appointments and begin vaccinating school staff at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College on Saturday.

In Haywood County, a spokesperson for the Health Department said it will begin the vaccination process for school staff and educators next week.

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