Educators receive Pfizer vaccine


Alex Hopper, News Editor

Educators receive Pfizer vaccine

Alex Hopper/[email protected]/News Editor

Recently the Alabama Department of Public Health added educators to the list of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Educators in the Shoals area were able to receive their Pfizer vaccines at the North Alabama Medical Center’s Outpatient Services. 

NAMC opened its drive-thru vaccination clinic on Feb. 22 and vaccinated 200 educators from Lauderdale County, Muscle Shoals City, and Florence City schools.  

Other institutions and school systems will receive the same vaccination opportunity in the coming weeks. 

NAMC Communications Director, Melissa Watkins, commented on their distribution of the vaccine. 

“We know educators have been on the front-line during this pandemic, just like healthcare workers,” said Watkins. “We thought it was important to give them this opportunity to be vaccinated.”

“We appreciate their dedication to being in area schools teaching our children and supporting students in every capacity,” said Watkins. 

Watkins says she is excited about rolling out large-scale vaccination efforts to the community. 

“It’s very exciting. We’ve been waiting on this for a very long time, and when those vaccines came in, it was a celebration. We were excited because we knew we could help people in the Shoals get vaccinated,” said Watkins to WAAY 31.

NAMC gave each local school a time frame for their employees to receive their vaccination. 

The individual schools then set up a time for their employees to be vaccinated. 

“People are in and out within minutes,” said Watkins. “People pull up, they already have their registration completed, so it makes the process efficient.”

NAMC Associate Administrator, Casey Willis, hopes these vaccinations will help educators to feel comfortable returning to work. 

“I know the educators, the teachers that we’ve had, they’re so thrilled to be able to get this vaccine,” said Willis to News 19. “They’ve been waiting for it and so it’s going to boost their confidence and their comfort in being back in the school.”

All Florence City School employees received the vaccination opportunity last week. 

“Our nurses were able to get the vaccine several weeks ago, but this will be the first time that our educators have had the opportunity to receive the vaccine and that will cover everybody that’s employed within the school system,” said Florence City Schools Superintendent Jimmy Shaw.

NAMC said the drive-thru clinic isn’t just for city and county schools but that private school and college educators will be able to receive the vaccine as well. 

Along with educators, the new state order for vaccine distribution includes first responders, childcare workers, judiciary, and several other groups of essential workers. 

State Health Officer, Scott Harris, warned that the new order will make approx. 1.5 million people in Alabama eligible for the vaccine and that vaccine supply is limited. 

According to Alabama officials, a total of 772,275 vaccine doses have been delivered to the state. 

42 percent of what has been delivered to the state has already been administered. 

Harris stated that most unused doses “have someone’s name on it,” as many of the vaccines are reserved for second doses. 

Harris asked those who are now eligible but not at a higher risk to consider allowing at-risk individuals to be vaccinated first. 

“If you’re in this eligible group but you’re young and healthy and otherwise not at risk, and you actually have a situation personally where you’re not at high risk for exposure,” said Harris. “We want to try to reach those people who either can’t possibly protect themselves by nature of their job or who are at really high risk for serious illness.”

NAMC is not currently permitted to do public vaccinations.

They must vaccinate specific groups as chosen by the ADPH. 

“If you show up and you are a member of the public, unfortunately, you will be turned away just because it’s not in our allocation,” said Watkins. “In order to keep getting vaccines, we have to follow the regulations of ADPH.” 

NAMC hopes to continue its efforts for widespread vaccinations in the Shoals area.