DAVIDSON COUNTY — School officials were informed Tuesday there remains no information available for when Davidson County Schools staff could receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
At its regular February meeting, the Davidson County Board of Education heard from Davidson County Health Director Lillian Koontz that she remains in close contact with Superintendent Emily Lipe regarding the upcoming strategy for how the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to local schools. Unfortunately, the supply provided by the state has not kept up with the demand for the vaccine.
“Currently, we are receiving what they call 975 doses a week,” Koontz said. “I say that because the doses vary by vial. We’re in the Pfizer product right now. The vial is listed as five doses in a vial, but we’re getting between six and seven in some, and four in others. The amount is quite broad that we receive.”
With the slow and unpredictable rate of receipt of the vaccine, Koontz said it remains impossible to venture a guess on when school officials will be able to schedule appointments. Additionally, the responsibilities of health officials have changed since the vaccine was approved at the end of last year.
Lipe said contact tracing is now falling upon principals and members of administration at the schools since the health department has shifted its focus to administering the vaccine. As fewer than 1,000 doses per week of the vaccine are proliferated in the county, the health director says no clear indication of a starting point, or how long it will take to vaccinate, is apparent.
“At that rate, that does not come close to vaccinating your entire system,” Koontz said. “These things are challenges that we will be working to overcome when we make it into Phase 3 that includes your Davidson County School system personnel. Right now, I have been given no timeline, no peeks as to when we will make it into Phase 3.”
The health department’s efforts at vaccinating individuals in priority groups, anticipating moving to the next group, and eventually the schools, are in accordance with state guidelines. According to Koontz, any deviation from the designated groups to receive the vaccine could result in the county losing its allocation of vaccines. The vaccine distribution comes as a directive from the governor and the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Davidson County Health Department remains the only provider of the vaccine in the county.
In order to make an appointment for the vaccine, Davidson County residents are encouraged to call 336-236-3096 or visit https://www.co.davidson.nc.us/976/COVID-19-Vaccine.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.