COVID-19 vaccinations open for teachers and staff of public and private schools and daycares on Wednesday. In Catawba County, school staff vaccinations will start later this week.
Catawba County Public Health has worked with the county’s three public school systems, private schools and Catawba County Partnership for Children to find school and child care center employees who want to be vaccinated, public health Community Engagement Specialist Emily Killian said.
Educators in the public school systems — Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools — and private schools teachers will be vaccinated late this week, Killian said.
Hickory and Newton-Conover are scheduled for Saturday and Catawba County Schools on Friday, according to school officials.
The county is still working on a plan to vaccinate child-care providers, Killian said.
The vaccine will be distributed by Catawba County Public Health, Catawba Valley Health System and Frye Regional Medical Center in partnership, Killian said.
Vaccinating teachers and education staff is an important step as they are in contact with a large number of people each day, Killian said.
Staff of Catawba County Schools have put students first in holding in-person classes all year long, Superintendent Dr. Matt Stover said. He is grateful they now have the chance to get protection from the virus.
“We are all super pumped and thankful our staff has the opportunity to receive the vaccination,” he said.
School staff are excited to be vaccinated after nearly a year of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.
“We have had an overwhelming response from staff who have signed up for the vaccination,” Stover said. “Our staff is excited and thankful because all of them realize the importance of getting students back in school safely, and protecting others from the spread of COVID-19.”
Hickory Public Schools staff are feeling excited as well, Hickory Public Schools Director of Communications Beverly Snowden said. The vaccine brings a sense of relief, she said.
People who qualify for the vaccine as health care workers or people over 65 will still be vaccinated and the county will continue to make appointments for them, Killian said.
The state has not given the county any additional doses of the vaccine as it moves forward into new phases of vaccine eligibility.
The state plans to open eligibility for frontline essential workers on March 10.
Catawba County reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and two new deaths.
There have been 16,957 total cases since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday, 278 county residents have died.
There are 42 county residents hospitalized with the virus.
Statewide, 1,514 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 846,284, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
There are 1,563 people hospitalized with the virus and 10,965 people have died in North Carolina.