Johnston County Public Schools began vaccinating employees with the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
The district received approximately 40 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the Johnston County Public Health Department to administer to employees ages 65 and older. The vaccines were administered via a drive-thru clinic at the district’s West Campus site in Smithfield.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with our local health department to be able to offer this vaccine to our employees,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “I am proud of everything our staff has accomplished this school year to get us to this point.”
According to JCPS Area Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Pearce, it takes a great deal of planning to prepare for a vaccine clinic because there are so many unknowns regarding the supply of the vaccine.
The health department may only be able to give the district limited notice that they will be able to supply them with a certain number of doses on a given day. The school system then has to quickly notify qualifying personnel and prepare to administer the vaccine once it is delivered.
“For a lot of people this vaccine means hope,” said Pearce. “Today was just the first step in giving us the hope of returning to normal.”
Pearce added that there will be several more vaccine clinics offered to JCPS employees in the coming months for the nearly 2,200 employees that have expressed an interest in receiving the vaccine. The age range these vaccines will be offered to is based on criteria provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
“We have 560 employees in the 50-64 age range that want this vaccine, and we want to be able to provide it to them as soon as possible,” said Pearce.
JCPS Executive Director of Social and Emotional Learning Dr. Amanda Allen said she is proud of all of the district’s nurses for working together to make the vaccine clinics happen.
Last week the district’s nurses helped the health department administer 1,300 vaccines to community members at North Johnston and West Johnston high schools.
“Our nurses have always been essential to the health and wellness of our students, but never more so than now for getting us safely back to school,” said Allen. “I am honored to work with a group of professionals that are ready to organize vaccine clinics at a moment’s notice and then show up with smiles on their faces.”