School districts’ vaccination plans for teachers could be delayed

VIDEO: School districts’ vaccination plans for teachers could be delayed

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Teachers in South Carolina may now be eligible for the COVI19 vaccines, but it’s still unclear just how quickly some districts are going to be able to provide those shots.

While some have been able to fast track the vaccination process for their teachers, like Dorchester School District Two, others still have not released their finalized plans.

DD2 officials said they made plans with Fetter Health Care months ago in anticipation, which has set DD2 up to be one of the first districts to administer shots to its employees next week.

Many teachers said they have been waiting for this moment for a while.

“It felt like a lot for teachers…we were a political football. It was our fault that we weren’t in school. It was our fault that people couldn’t get back to work because teachers didn’t want to work or they were scared to work. And it could not have been further from the truth,” DD2 teacher Blake Bredemeier said. “When we add this extra layer of protection…I really 100 percent believe we are doing the best thing we possibly can to get through this.”

However, a spokesperson for the SC Department of Education said there could be a delay for other districts to implement their own plans.

“Between the state opening up Phase 1B and Biden directing the federal retail pharmacy program to prioritize educators and staff, things have started relatively smoothly,” spokesperson Ryan Brown said. “The only issue is the large number of retirees in the coastal region that have bottlenecked vaccine supply in those areas. Hopefully the increase in vaccine doses will address this.”

Georgetown County School District officials have yet to release any details about their vaccination plans.

“Our timeline will depend on when the vaccine is available to us. We are looking forward to it becoming available. As soon as the vaccine is available, we are ready to receive the vaccinations,” GCSD spokesperson Ray White said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Charleston County School District said the district is moving forward with plans to get vaccines to staff members, but specific details have not been released at this time.

“We understand this process is subject to change based on the availability and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. However, we are confident in our partnership with MUSC and in our plans to make these shots available for everyone in the district who would like to receive them,” CCSD spokesperson Andrew Pruitt said.

Teachers in Berkeley County are also still waiting to hear when their district will be able to provide vaccine access.

“BCSD leadership has been working diligently on vaccine plans for the past few weeks. We are finalizing those plans with our partners, ensuring availability of the vaccines, and will release information to our teachers first,” district spokesperson Katie Tanner said.

Officials with the state’s Emergency Response Team said those 65 years and older will continue to be prioritized to receive their vaccine first.

“It’s important to remember that those 65 and older are at highest risk for severe complications or death from COVID-19,” the representative said. “Our number one goal with vaccine distribution continues to be preventing any additional deaths. Anyone eligible to receive the vaccine as part of 1b on Monday has equal opportunity to schedule their vaccine appointments anywhere in the state.”

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