MEDINA, Ohio (WJW) — School districts across Medina County are receiving the first round of COVID-19 vaccines in the state as part of the Phase 1B group, which includes educators.
Discount Drug Mart served as the provider of the vaccine, which was distributed through two sites in the county on Thursday.
Brunswick High School hosted staff and educators from Brunswick, Buckeye, Highland, Medina Christian Academy, Medina County ESC, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Francis Xavier.
Medina High School hosted staff and educators from Around the Sun Montessori, Black River, Cloverleaf, Medina, MCCC, Northside Christian Academy, Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Nurtury, and Wadsworth.
All schools in the county were closed for the day.
“I don’t think its hyperbole to call today historic for Medina County,” said Robert Hlasko, Superintendent, Educational Service Center of Medina County.
Hlasko says across the county close to 80bpercent of those who are eligible for Thursday’s vaccinations volunteered to get one.
“All along we have been very fortunate in medina county and again this is just another indication of what our educators are willing to do to keep themselves safe and keep the kids safe as well, keep them in school,” said Hlasko.
For the past two weeks, Discount Drug Mart has been administering COVID-19 vaccines to age-eligible people in its 76 stores.
Jason Briscoe, Discount Drug Mart’s Director of Pharmacy Operations, explained that the Pfizer vaccinations administered on Thursday were allocated from the state specifically for schools and did not interfere with the company’s efforts to continue delivering vaccines to the general public.
Thursday’s vaccinations were administered by Discount Drug Mart pharmacists.
“That was some of the uniqueness about our capabilities at Discount Drug Mart. We have protocols in place that allow for the ultracold storage and handling and administering and reporting of the Pfizer product so that gives us flexibility when maybe other providers don’t have,” said Briscoe.
Briscoe, along with school administrators, believes their joint collaboration through the pandemic and early planning helped Medina County schools to become among the first in the state to get vaccines.
Just this week medina High School began inviting all students back for in-person learning.
Superintendent Aaron Sable explained that Thursday’s vaccinations will not change any of the district’s COVID-19 protocols, which he said have resulted in little to no spread within the schools.
“It’s been very challenging over the course of the past year, in regards to making decisions as superintendents, because the safety and the health of our staff, as well as our students, is a top priority,” said Medina Superintendent Aaron Sable.
“I can tell you that the biggest challenge that we have had is the quarantining of students and staff, and not having appropriate staffing levels to really run a building,” he added.
Among the educators who were scheduled for appointments, the overwhelming expectation was that the vaccines would help them all return to something closer to normal. The educators believe doing the entire county in one day was the least disruptive way to hold the clinics.
“We feel so fortunate. There are so many people in the state waiting to get this and Medina County stepped right up and you guys are going to have the day off and we are going to get it for you and we couldn’t be more happy more pleased,” said Chuck Hamilton, a Social Studies Teacher at Wadsworth High School.
“Hopefully it will keep more of us at work because, yes, it is hard to get subs when we are out and many subs maybe aren’t willing to come in and take a chance on things right now. So, hopefully this will keep staff back at school like where we should be,” said Dave Derrig, who also teaches in Wadsworth.
“It’s a big step for sure. The numbers are going down, which is nice when you look at the data. But again, to help people to make sure that they are safe — if we can keep people from going through some difficult times I think we have to do that in our society,” said Tracey Lambdin, the principal of Black River High School.
The Pfizer vaccine will require a second round of injections within no less than 21 days. An assessment of Thursday’s clinic will be held once it is over and plans will then be made to schedule the second round of vaccinations.