Wasatch Back teachers have started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations this week. Three Summit County school districts and the Wasatch County School District employees will also be in the queue to receive vaccinations over the next few weeks.
Teachers in the Wasatch County School District began receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Monday. Summit County School districts are scheduling teacher vaccinations to start later this week.
Lead Nurse at the South Summit School District, Amanda Monaco, says county health officials have prioritized teacher vaccines above other school staff.
"We've been working with the health department to get our teachers vaccinated. And, this week, they were able to get a link sent out to the teachers that are interested in getting the vaccine. And so, most of our teachers have started scheduling and have been able to get into appointments for the next couple of weeks here. So, we're just really excited about that."
Park City School District Chief Operations Officer Mike Tanner says the vaccine supply is constrained but hopes that everyone will get their shot in the arm over the next couple of weeks.
"Over the course of the last week, we assembled a prioritized list with the teachers at the top, asked them to opt-out if they had any concerns and didn't want to participate. But everyone else that wants to participate, including our other staff members who have frequent contact with children. We have a little over 700 people who are going to vaccinate in this round. That is being run at the Utah Film Studio. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are the three dates that teachers could sign up for. Hopefully, with 320 Moderna tests assigned to the school district, we can get the vast majority of our classroom teachers. And that was our initial target just because of their close contact with the children."
Tanner says the county has allotted about 200 vaccines a week for school district staff inoculations. He says the second booster shots are also in reserve for the Moderna vaccine protocol.
Monaco says about 50% of the South Summit School District staff are opting out of the vaccine. Tanner says in the Park City School District, a few dozen people are declining a COVID vaccine.He says they’re opting out of the vaccine for various reasons.
"We have about 35 people opt-out, and then a couple more surfaced over the last several days. And you know, they have their personal concerns about the safety of the vaccine. They might have some allergies that would concern them. Or might have an allergic reaction to it. So, we respect obviously whatever decision they make. We hope they get a vaccine, but if they choose not to, that's their personal choice."
Monaco says, regardless of who is vaccinated, everyone will be required to continue wearing a mask and practicing social distancing through the school year.
"Well, they will for a while. I think there's going to have to be a lot more research done on exactly if you can still spread it, or you know, how much of immunity you have. Things like that. So, I mean, we're hoping to not have to wear masks by next fall, but definitely, through the rest of the year, I think we will be doing that."
Monaco has been helping Summit County administer vaccines to first responders and medical personnel in recent days. She is excited to assist in vaccinating her co-workers later this week.