OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Monday, Pre-k through 12th grade educators joined the group of Oklahomans now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
500 of them were vaccinated in a large pod at an Oklahoma City school in partnership between the Oklahoma City Public School District and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
“This was certainly a Godsend because we need to make sure that we’re going to be OK so our students will be OK,” said Alfred Anderson, a teacher.
On Monday, Anderson received his first COVID-19 vaccine at Douglass High School where he teaches.
“Anticipation, excitement and a little bit of nervousness at the same time, wondering about the potential side effects,” Anderson said.
Education leaders say it’s important for teachers to be included in this phase.
“They have taught, they have fed, they have counseled and they have encouraged our students and families every step of the way,” said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel.
1,200 others whose second-dose clinic at Ebenezer Baptist Church was delayed due to weather were also vaccinated at Douglass, along with 800 others in conjunction with Fairview Baptist Church.
Faith leaders in northeast Oklahoma City have been instrumental in the vaccine’s distribution and say vaccine hesitancy in the Black community is not as prevalent as being reported.
“They are concerned about their health and they are concerned about the health of others,” said Dr. Rev. J.A. Reed, Jr., with the Fairview Missionary Baptist Church.
State leaders are hopeful for the future as we head into this next phase.
“Our vaccine has been our limiting step so far but supply is starting to increase some so we’re very positive about that,” said Oklahoma Interim Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye.
But they’re urging Oklahomans to stay vigilant.
“People have COVID fatigue and we are very, very interested in being certain that we can keep that spread low,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
OKCPS officials are expecting school leaders to be flexible in giving staff time off to get vaccinated or deal with any side effects.
Douglass and U.S. Grant schools are planned to serve as pods in the future.