Photo by: Isabella Brazalle
President Joe Biden announced a directive that all states prioritize school staff and childcare workers for COVID-19 vaccination. These vaccines are being prioritized within The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccination. This program is a collaboration between many different organizations with the common goal of increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines across the United States.
“I feel great that scheduling a vaccine has been opened to teachers. It makes sense that teachers fall in line after health care workers and the elderly, but near the same time as retail workers and others that interact daily with members of the public,” Mr. Joseph Correa, science, said.
The Lake Central School Corporation was able to work with Walmart Pharmacy to provide 300 vaccines to the first staff members that reserved an appointment. These 300 vaccines will be given to teachers on Saturday, March 13; exactly one year after the corporation announced that all classes would transition to online classes for two weeks.
“I was thrilled when I heard that 300 vaccines would be available for all of our staff. [The appointments] filled-up quickly — in about 75 minutes. Then we had some cancellations, so we were able to get appointments for those on the waiting list,” Director of Human Resources Mrs. Terry Mucha said.
A Google Form was sent out to teachers as soon as administrators heard the vaccine would be available. Many teachers, like Mrs. Angela Ohlenkamp, mathematics, were quick to fill out the form in hopes of receiving one of the sought-after vaccinations.
“It is the earliest appointment I was able to get, and it's in a convenient location as well. [I feel] thankful and grateful. I hope that it will soon be available to everyone,” Ohlenkamp said.
Although the different options of the COVID-19 vaccine that are currently available are likely to cover the new strains of the virus that have arisen, all vaccine options work effectively to prevent severe infection and death from COVID-19, according to the CDC. Mrs. Julie Shupryt, science, plans on receiving the vaccine at Lake Central to not only help protect herself, but those around her as well.
“I am getting the vaccine this weekend. As a science major, I trust vaccines. Also to give me peace of mind [for] the rest of the year. You can still get COVID-19 even with the vaccine, but it will be harder and less severe,” Shupryt said.
Lake Central has also already scheduled times for teachers to receive the second dose of the vaccine. The initial 300 teachers who signed-up for the first dose of the vaccine will be included in the schedule for a second dose, and Lake Central is working on making the vaccine available to teachers who missed the chance to get it in the first round.
“They were not required to seek out a solution to get the teachers scheduled for a mass-vaccination event, but they did it, and worked their best to make it happen. When I first read that the vaccine would be available to LC staff, I was happy to have scheduled immediately, but I probably would not feel the same way if I was unable to participate because of the limited supply available,” Correa said.
Teachers will be receiving the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations at Lake Central exactly one year after the school corporation and the country shut down, demonstrating how much can change in a year. Although masks will still be required, teachers like Mr. Alex Thompson, science, feel Lake Central’s vaccination initiative is a step in the right direction.
“Of course, the mask mandate still needs to be in-effect until we know more about the carrying of the virus in vaccinated individuals, but it at least feels like we are taking steps forward. If you are able to do so and have the means, everyone should be vaccinated. Trust our history in epidemiology; vaccines save lives,” Thompson said.