Orange County Schools teachers and other staff members got to roll up their sleeves, get in line and get their shot last week in the parking lot at Orange High School. The district partnered with Hillsborough Pharmacy and UNC Health to provide COVID-19 vaccines. OCS employees who registered for the shot could either drive up and receive the vaccine while in their car, or they could park and walk up.
“We used to go on site to each school and give all the teachers flu shots, pneumonia shots, tetanus shots, shingles shot,” said Tiffany Barber, who is the owner and pharmacy manager at Hillsborough Pharmacy. “We’ve done that every year for four years now. So when we got shots I knew that it would be the perfect time to partner with them (OCS) first and then, as soon as we get more shots, we’ll spread it out to the public.”
Orange County Schools has been open for in-person instruction under Plan B for pre-K and EC students since October. Even though the state said it was safe for the schools to begin reopening without vaccinations, Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder said they were excited when the vaccines started rolling out, although the lack of availability caused some concern.
“In Orange County, we were getting through Group one and two at an extremely slow rate. I didn’t foresee educators being able to get the vaccine until months from now,” she said.
Staff members were encourage to get the vaccines where and when they could. OCS and Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools partnered with Hillsborough Pharmacy, the Orange County Health Department, UNC Health, Alignment Health and Piedmont Health to work together to secure vaccines.
Of the 1,200 Orange County Schools employees, Dr. Felder said more than 700 had signed up for the shots. She also said the Hillsborough Pharmacy has committed to vaccination events every Friday.