Wake County educators seek COVID-19 vaccine clinics at schools, but mass sites more effective, health officials say

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As school staffers becomes eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, educators say they’d like opportunities to get vaccinated on campus.

Wake County Public Health says on-site vaccinations are being considered, but that mass clinics will be how the vast majority of people in the first three groups receive vaccines.

“At this point in time the quickest way that we can vaccinate will be on mass vaccination sites,” said Ryan Jury, Wake County vaccine branch director.

Teachers, custodians and school staff become eligible for vaccine on Wednesday.  Some educators have expressed concern about how they would have access to get vaccine doses during the school day.

“It would be incredibly efficient to open up high school gyms or cafeterias to vaccine educators as quickly as possible,” said Wake North Carolina Association of Educators President Kristin Beller.

Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore said offering vaccine clinics on campus is being considered.

Jury says Wake Public Health has been a part of those discussions.

“That’s what everyone is like ‘we would like’ – these on-site events,” he said.

However, Jury doesn’t think they are the most efficient way to get a large amount of people vaccinated.

He points to the federal program administering vaccine at long-term care facilities which began in December and still continues.

“There’s still facilities in this state and in this county who haven’t gone through all three of those clinics yet,” said Jury.

According to Jury while on-site events and focused vaccination efforts will be part of the long-term plan, the majority of the focus remains on mass clinics. 

He says Wake County Public health will continue to offer vaccination events on evenings and Saturdays.

A Wake County Public School System spokesperson says the school district will take part on a vaccine event Wednesday, but that employees will not have to take leave to attend vaccine appointments as part of their work responsibilities.

A spokesperson said they anticipate that there may be times when multiple teachers are out for appointments, so substitutes will be used.

Other providers such as UNC Health clinics are offering Saturday appointments. 

A UNC Health spokesperson says they will begin posting appointments for Wednesday late Monday or early Tuesday.

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