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CHCHC provides teacher vaccines

Charles Henderson Child Health Center (CHCHC) has maintained close relationships with the schools in Pike County.

Due to that relationship, the Child Health Center was able to offer the COVID-10 Moderna vaccine to teachers in both the Troy City and Pike County Schools last week.

“When we found out that CHCHC could get the vaccine, we wanted to partner with the schools to get teachers and school employees protected,” said Dr. Elizabeth Dawson, CHHC pediatrics specialist, “Returning to some normalcy of life is important and the longer the students are not in school, the repercussions of loss time are compounded. It is critical for students to be back in school, safely.”

Dawson said 400 total vaccines were administered to and including system teachers and employees, university professors, industrial workers and first responders. Two hundred of the vaccines were administered to teachers in the county’s two largest school systems. Pike Liberal Arts School had gotten the vaccine through a local doctor’s office.

“Teachers come in contact with students who then go home to parents and grandparents,” she said. “The vaccine provides an extended range of protection as children return to the classroom and to a more normal way of life.”

Sonny Kirkpatrick, manufacturing technologies teacher at Charles Henderson High School, expressed appreciation to all those involved in acquiring the COVID vaccine for the school system.

“We couldn’t be more grateful,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s an enormous relief to be able to get the shots and to hopefully lessen our chances of potentially contacting the virus.  Now, we as teachers can get back to doing what we love to do, and that is teach our students.”

For Geneva Rodgers, Troy City Schools, COVID-19 has impacted her life in such a way that it will never be the same.

“My three sisters tested positive for the virus at the same time and, I lost one of my sisters to the virus,” Rodgers said. “The virus is real but some people don’t believe it’s real until it touches their lives as it has mine. Getting the vaccine at CHCHC was a real blessing because it helps us protect ourselves and others.”

Katherine Davis said she was not surprised to learn Dawson was giving the shots.

“Dr. Dawson and her husband do a lot of work for Troy City Schools,” Davis said. “So, it was not surprising she would be making every effort to secure shots for our teachers.”

Davis said, while teachers have limited exposure to parents, students go home to their families and that extends the exposer from the classroom to homes.

Tina Lieb, CHHS, said she joins many other teachers in thanking Dr. Dawson and CHCHC for providing teachers with the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This gives us an opportunity to get the vaccine earlier than we thought or had hoped,” Lieb said. “With the vaccine, we have more assurance as we go into the classroom and, hopefully, will help slow the virus and soon bring it to an end.”

Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County School, expressed appreciation to CHCHC and Dawson for the opportunity presented to his teachers and all system employees.

“We greatly appreciate CHCHC’s efforts in making sure our employees have access to the vaccine,” Bazzell said. “Once contacted about the opportunity, the response was immediate. The opportunity has been extended to all our employees. The vaccine is important in helping keep our employees safe and we certainly appreciate this opportunity for our employees.”

Diana Whitaker, Pike County Board of Education receptionist, said, at her age, it could have been months before she was eligible for the vaccine.

“But, because the vaccine was offered to our school system, I was able to get it now and that means a lot to me,” she said. “I’m sure we all are very thankful for this opportunity.”

Bonnie Spellman, bus shop employee, agreed because neither age nor health status qualifies her for the vaccine at this time.

“My hopes for getting the vaccine were on a list at a local pharmacy but that could be as late as April,” Spellman said.  “So, when the vaccine was made available to employees of the Pike County Schools, I was so thankful. The vaccine has given me comfort in knowing that I’ll have a reduced chance of getting the virus.”

Mara Johnson also expressed appreciation to CHCHC and Dr. Dawson for providing the opportunities for teachers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“And, to Dr. Bazzell,” she said. “He told us, the teachers, that if we were notified that we could get the vaccine to drop everything and go.

“Everything was well organized. We had sent in the paper work so we just walked in, signed in and got the vaccine. We didn’t have wait or travel to get the vaccine that will help us stay safe to teach and so children can stay in school and learn.”