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Douglas County to use surge in vaccine doses for educators

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 4:37 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Douglas County teachers will soon be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The county health department announced Wednesday that teachers are a part of the 10% of critical infrastructure workers who will get the vaccine.

Douglas County officials say the vaccinations are possible because of a windfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“(It) was made possible by an increase in the doses that are coming to the county. We got notice last night that we would get roughly an extra 3,000 more doses than we had been expecting,” DCHD spokesman Phil Rooney said.

The vaccine will be allocated based on the student population of each school district.

“We’re going to start with K-12 because that would be the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” Rooney said. “The superintendents and the administration will prioritize the vaccines based on age and underlying conditions.”

Westside School District officials said Wednesday’s news will give their teachers some comfort. They’re always wearing masks in Westside classrooms, but officials say their teachers work in confined spaces and cannot always social distance.

“So to know that those vaccines will soon be available is just one more reassurance that we can continue keeping our schools open, we can continue educating and serving kids, and I think it gives everybody a little peace of mind we’re just one step closer to beating this thing,” school district spokeswoman Brandi Paul said.

Over at Northwest High Schools, OPS officials are also excited about getting the vaccine. The school’s principal said Douglas County teachers should not be the only group of educators eligible for the shot.

“Hopefully, though, they are well aware that this is something that they should do for educators all across the state, not just Omaha Public Schools, but (that) they’re taking into consideration for all educators across the state,” Principal Thomas Lee said.

DCHD officials said teachers at parochial schools in the county will also be eligible to receive the vaccine. Officials said they are planning to begin vaccinations for Douglas County teachers sometime next week.

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