Mecklenburg Educators receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Clarksville Elementary Principal Ann Dalton receives the vaccine.

Virginia continues to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as 84.7% of the first doses have been administered. Only 26% have received the second dose of the vaccine. Not included in the total vaccine count is the Federal Long-Term Care Facility Program doses administered and received.

As of Monday morning there have been 6,400 vaccines administered in the Southside Health District. Mecklenburg County currently shows 3,268 vaccinations received. Most of those were administered to local healthcare workers, first responders, and correctional facilities. Long-term care facilities are not included in the daily count as those vaccines are provided through a federal program.

Mecklenburg County Public Schools received word from the Southside Health Department last Tuesday afternoon that 200 doses would be made available for the staff. “I am very pleased to report that Mecklenburg County Public Schools held a very successful COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Park View High School on Saturday, January 30th. The Southside VA Department of Health notified Mrs. Mooney, our Nursing Coordinator, last Tuesday afternoon that they had 200 doses of the vaccine that were available for our teachers. We had already created a plan for a clinic, and our nursing staff certified to administer the shots. The certification process is stringent and takes hours to complete. We had also surveyed our staff and had specific data to use so that we could contact persons who intended to take the vaccine directly. With this information in place Mrs. Mooney and her staff were able to set up a clinic for the following Saturday,” said Superintendent Paul Nichols.

Mr. Nichols and school administrators were told that teachers are the top priority, so the first 200 scheduled to receive the vaccine were members of the teaching staff. Mr. Nichols said, “We found that several that were scheduled had either already received the first shot or were not able to change their plans on such short notice, so we had to fill in spots to be sure that no vaccines were wasted. Mrs. Mooney set it up so that there would be persons available as back-up for any no-shows so that none of the vaccination would be wasted. It is important to use all of the vaccination serum that is available, and we did. We are very anxiously waiting for the next shipment of the vaccines so we can have another clinic as soon as possible.”

Nichols said that the research was done to find out exactly how the vaccine process should work. Virginia requires that everyone who receives a vaccination be registered on a central database that identifies who they are, which vaccination they were given, where they get it, the date of the first vaccine, and when the second one will be administered to them. “Having each person registered takes a significant amount of time. We were not given the information to expect this, and we had to call in additional clerical support to help with this process. Many thanks to the extra staff that gave their time for this effort on short notice.”

“Everyone who received their first shot on Saturday has been scheduled for their second shot in four weeks. Our clinic gave the Moderna vaccine, and it requires four weeks between 1st and 2nd injections. The Pfizer requires 3 weeks. We will set up a clinic for these 2nd shots. We have also notified the clinic that we have many more staff persons who want the vaccine. They have assured us that they will let us know as soon as more becomes available. We will schedule a clinic for this as well. Please let Mrs. Mooney know if you did not originally sign up to receive the vaccine. Also, it would be helpful if you let her know if you get the vaccine elsewhere. Don’t wait for this opportunity if another one becomes available.”

Mecklenburg County is currently reporting 1,792 cases with 72 hospitalized and 46 deaths. There are 20 outbreaks within the Southside Health District, most of which are in long-term care and correctional facilities.

Brunswick County is reporting 1,094 cases with 47 hospitalizations and 9 deaths. Halifax County is reporting 2,003 cases with 42 hospitalizations and 52 deaths.