Educators and support staff in Oklahoma County are a step closer to safely returning to their schools.
Thousands of educators and support staff received their COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturday at Oklahoma City Community College in southwest Oklahoma City. They took part in the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s largest-to-date vaccine pod for teachers.
The event was one of many held to begin the process of returning to school full-time.
“We’re going to be able to bring about 3,000 doses of vaccination at this pod site,” Oklahoma City-County Health Department deputy director Dr. Patrick McGough said.
One metro teacher anxious for her shot was Jennifer Gillis.
“I definitely know that for me and the rest of our teachers,” Gillis said. “We feel it’s really important to be vaccinated, especially for some of our teachers who are older.”
Gillis joined the many other teachers now eligible for their first dose.
Districts across the metro including Oklahoma City, Edmond and Putnam City held vaccine clinics this past week. Earlier this month, the state's top educator, Joy Hofmeister, expressed her belief on the importance of having vaccinated teachers.
"Our teachers and support staff deserve and need to work in a safe and secure environment,” Hofmeister said. “Giving them this opportunity to receive the vaccine as soon as reasonably possible is critical."
Also critical are the people involved in the large-scale pods. More than 150 Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps volunteers gladly gave up their Saturday to assist.
“That also tells you how dedicated the MRC volunteers are to helping this effort,” Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps volunteer coordinator Dominique Baradaran said.
They were able to ensure teachers were in and out as quickly as possible.
“Hopefully, by fall, we can be back to normal life,” Gillis said. “And a normal state of school. I’m feeling very hopeful about it.”
Everyone who received a vaccine on Saturday also made an appointment for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.