The Bulloch County Schools system will offer drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Friday and March 19 that will be open to all employees of the school system, including substitute teachers and temporary workers.
“While there is no requirement for school district employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it is one more important way that we can help keep them safe, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and help prevent possible quarantines if they are directly exposed to someone with the virus,” said Charles Wilson, superintendent of schools.
Both clinics will be held at the Bulloch County Health Department on West Altman Street in Statesboro, and vaccines will be administered between 2:30–4:30 p.m. both days. Shots will be given by appointment only, said Hayley Greene, public relations director for the schools system. Each clinic will be drive-thru and everyone must stay in their vehicles.
Greene said a link to make an appointment was sent to the email account of all employees and is available at www.bullochschools.org/vaccine. The website will allow employees to select the day and time they wish to come.
All participants will be given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Greene said. Last week, Gov. Brian Kemp announced that Georgia’s first shipments of the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine would be prioritized for educators.
Greene said the initial supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived Friday at the Bulloch County Health Department. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 28 to prevent COVID-19 for individuals 18 years and older.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not quite as effective at preventing COVID infection as the two other authorized vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer. The CDC said data show the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 67% effective at preventing all COVID-19 infections two weeks after the vaccine is administered. In the studies, the vaccine was 100% effective at preventing death or hospitalization.
“Each of Bulloch County Schools’ clinics will be able to accommodate up to 200 employees, for a total of 400 employees for the first two clinics,” Greene said. “The school district is intentionally spacing out the clinics and scheduling them on Fridays, to allow employees a rest period after the vaccine in case they experience any side effects.”
A third clinic is tentatively scheduled for March 26, depending on demand, Greene said. The school district also is coordinating with other local providers to host additional clinics based on demand.
Greene said the school system has provided employees information from the Georgia Department of Public Health that explains the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and possible side effects. The CDC website also offers information about the vaccine.
While Bulloch County has offered local parents and guardians the option of in-person classroom or virtual learning for their children since last August, many school systems throughout Georgia have not reopened classrooms.
Kemp said that giving teachers priority on the new Johnson & Johnson shot would help expedite a “full, five days a week return to the classroom.”
“Every student belongs in the classroom ... full-time as soon as possible,” Kemp said last week. “That is my expectation to moving forward, and we look forward to partnering with local school districts to ensure that this happens very quickly.”