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Georgia teacher vaccinations begin March 8

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 18:32:49-05

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Georgia Department of Health South District leaders are preparing now to vaccinate at least 1,500 educators in Lowndes County.

South Health District communication director Courtney Sheeley says they began reaching out to superintendents and school nurses in their two largest districts last week.

"Here in the Lowndes County school system, they are close to 1,000 people in their district," said Sheeley. "And then when you look at Valdosta City Schools, I believe theirs was somewhere between 4- and 500. So we're already looking at, just here in Lowndes County alone, just in our two largest public school systems, you're looking at about 1,500 people."

In Grady County, Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard says they're now getting information on just how many people want to be vaccinated.

"We did a survey last week two weeks ago to see how many teachers wanted to receive the vaccination in anticipation of this announcement," said Gilliard. "We have about 250 that have said that they wanted the vaccination. We have about 25 that are over 65 and have already received one or both of the vaccines."

As school and health officials work together to get staff vaccinated, their biggest challenge is location.

"We're already looking at different ways," Sheeley adds. "Is it better for us to go to them, or is it better for them to come to us. We're just working with them on all those different logistics."

The same goes for District 8.

"We're working with the Department of Health and Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville," Gilliard explains. "Both have offered the vaccine, and so we are working those details out now. If we go with Archbold, we'll probably have to go there one Saturday to receive the vaccine. The health department has said that they will probably be able to come to us."

Gilliard says he believes having the vaccine available will help improve teacher morale and help everyone feel safer.