School staff vaccination plans for the week of Feb. 1 postponed
Change comes as a result of county health department's last-minute change of vaccine priority
The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) was notified late Friday afternoon that the Sonoma County Department of Health Services has shifted its COVID-19 vaccination priority and will only be providing vaccines for those aged 75 and older.
Unfortunately, this means that the Sonoma County Office of Education’s (SCOE) extensive plans to begin vaccinating school staff aged 65 and older will have to be postponed until further notice due to the vaccines reserved for school staff being reallocated for the county’s most vulnerable, age 75+ population.
Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, acknowledged the frustration and disappointment that school staff might be feeling upon hearing that their appointments were canceled or postponed.
“We understand the county’s need to prioritize our most vulnerable population, but are very disappointed in receiving this last minute notice after we had already scheduled and raised the hopes of hundreds of school staff in our community,” he said. “This is another example of the type of setbacks and changes in guidance that schools have faced throughout this pandemic.”
SCOE was initially notified late Thursday that schools had been allocated roughly 1,100 vaccines for the following week. In response, SCOE sent out more than 2,000 notices and manually booked more than 500 appointments for school staff aged 65 and older, for vaccinations set to begin on Monday, Feb. 1. Then, SCOE received notification at 4:00pm on Friday that the vaccines would no longer be available.
He added that SCOE staff will continue to work hard to be ready for when vaccines are available, so that teachers can safely get back into the classroom with students as soon as possible. He thanked the school staff who have spent the last few weeks gearing up for the massive effort to vaccinate school employees, from school nurses who volunteered to give vaccinations, to school principals and superintendents who offered schools as vaccination sites, to SCOE staff managing logistics and hundreds of signups.
At this time, it is unclear when SCOE will get the green light to resume school staff vaccinations. It will depend on how quickly the county is able to vaccinate its age 75+ population.
Until then, SCOE encourages school staff over the age of 75 to seek out opportunities for vaccination through their health insurance or the county’s contracted provider, OptumServe. More information is available at socoemergency.org/vaccine.
SCOE will provide regular updates to school leaders and be prepared to resume its vaccination efforts as soon as the vaccine is made available.