Durham teachers can get vaccinated starting Thursday, appointment scheduling still halted for Groups 1 and 2

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Department County Department of Public Health has not taken new appointments from Groups 1 and 2 in almost a month, however, school personnel will start receiving the vaccine on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Health officials said an ongoing limited supply of vaccines has kept them from being able to resume scheduling appointments for Groups 1 and 2.

Durham county health officials are working closely with Durham Public Schools to find out which school personnel is interested in getting a vaccine.

DPS will then send that list to county health officials and the health department will call school personnel in Durham to set up appointments.

Health officials are also working closely with child care centers as well as private and charter schools in the area to get their staff vaccinated.

Durham middle school teacher Millie Rosen is getting her vaccine on Wednesday, but she said she is driving to Orange County to a clinic in Carrboro where she was able to get an appointment.

“I don’t know anyone who has been able to book through DPS yet,” Rosen said.

Rosen said she wanted to try to get both doses of the vaccine before DPS requires her to go back in the classroom next month.

With an ongoing limited supply of vaccines in Durham County, she fears other teachers won’t be as lucky.

Durham County health officials said they plan to vaccinate 1,000 school personnel per week, but with more than 5,000 employees with DPS, Rosen fears not everyone will get a vaccine before they go back in the classroom.

“People are going to go in with one or maybe no doses and they’re going to be terrified,” Rosen said.

Rosen said she is hoping that DPS will push back the start date for in-person learning.

“It’s just not worth risking staff lives for a few extra weeks of in-person learning,” Rosen said.

Meanwhile, the health department has not taken any new appointments in Groups 1 and 2 for almost a month.

Dale Dunphy’s wife is a cancer survivor and he said his family is eagerly waiting to get the vaccine.

“I’d be first in line if I could,” Dunphy said.

He said he just hopes appointments start opening up soon.

“It is kind of frustrating not being in line,” Dunphy said. “I don’t know where we are with it, I just don’t know.”

While the DPS board passed a plan to allow some students to return to in-person learning as early as March 15, the Durham Association of Educators is pushing for the board to push that start date back until all teachers get a chance to be vaccinated.

Members of the DAE plan to address the Durham Public School Board at Thursday night’s meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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