NC educators are next up to get vaccinated, but will doses be available?

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Will they or won’t they get vaccinated? That is the question of the mind of educators who become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine next week.

Several health departments are drawing up plans to put shots in the arms of staff at schools and childcare facilities, but administering doses depends on the availability of vaccines.

“During the Governor’s announcement we started getting emails from teachers from all over the place wanting to know when they can register to get their shots,” said Scott LaVigne the Franklin County Health Director.

LaVigne says demand for vaccine far out measures supply.

While school staff will become eligible for vaccine on Feb. 24, LaVigne says Franklin County still needs to vaccinate thousands of people in Group 2.

“Franklin County has about 12,000 people over 65 and we haven’t even gotten through half of them yet,” said LaVigne.

He says the county’s entire supply of first doses, 900 each week, comes from the state. The only hospital in the area is emergency only. LaVigne says they have the manpower to vaccinate more people, but not the doses to do it.

“Realistically to get to that first group of Group 3, it’s going to be a little while,” he said.

The Halifax County Health Department does plan on administering doses to educators once they become eligible next week.

“It’s going to be a little clunky,” Bruce Robistow the Health Director for Halifax County.

Robistow says while Halifax County’s allotment from the state is small, they got a big boost of vaccine from area hospitals which helped move them through Groups 1 and 2.

“Early on we were doing 150-175 percent of our actual allocation because we were getting so much from the hospital,” he said.

Robistow says the health department reached out to child care and educator organizations to determine how many staff members want to be vaccinated. Once they get those numbers, the health department will set aside a percentage of their doses for educators.

However, those shots will be prioritized for the most vulnerable, Robistow says.

“If I have a 27-year-old school teacher and I have a 75-year-old dialysis patient and I have one dose, the dialysis patient is going to get it,” he said.

Lisa Macon Harrison, the Health Director for Granville and Vance Counties says doses administered by hospitals and pharmacies in addition to the doses from the state played a big role in their vaccine rollout.

“We’ve hit 15,000 shots in arms so far, and we have approximately 17,000 individuals 65 and older,” she said. “We’ll be able to move to Group Three easier than I thought,” she said.

Macon Harrison says a select number of educators will get their first dose at a large clinic on Feb. 24.

She says they will incorporate at least 50 school employees in daily clinics.

“We will make our way through the best we can with the doses we have,” said Macon Harrison.

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