CHARDON, Ohio (WJW) – Chardon classrooms were empty on Monday after the district canceled school because so many staff members were feeling ill from side effects from coronavirus vaccination.
“We wanted to make that decision early to make sure we were adequately informing parents,” Chardon Local Schools superintendent Dr. Michael Hanlon said.
Hanlon said about 80 percent of district staff received their second coronavirus vaccine dose Saturday. He said more than 40 staff members called in sick by Sunday night as they felt side effects of vaccination and the district couldn’t find enough substitutes.
“It became apparent that to provide instruction in an in-person setting in a safe manner with appropriate supervision was becoming challenging for us,” Hanlon said.
School staff vaccinations in Geauga County are being administered by Geauga County Public Health, which scheduled school vaccinations close to weekends to try to reduce absences.
“All of those school district second dose clinics were scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays so that we could mitigate the impact of those side effects,” Geauga County Health Commissioner Tom Quade said.
While some people experience no side effects, doctors report others experience mild, short-term effects including fever, chills, headache and body aches after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The effects typically last about a day.
“The side effects of the vaccine really are the manifestation of your immune system,” said Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of infection control from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and co-director of infection control for the health system.
Hoyen said it’s impossible to predict who may have side effects and she is not aware of any serious side effects among the approximately 40,000 people who have been vaccinated through University Hospitals. While she said it’s a good idea for recipients to plan for potential impacts from second doses, Hoyen said vaccine benefits outweigh short-term discomfort.
“It’s uncomfortable to have a fever for a day, but it is potentially much more uncomfortable to get COVID,” Hoyen said.