Nearly all school staff have been offered the opportunity to schedule their first vaccine
Nearly all school staff in Sonoma County have been offered the opportunity to schedule their first vaccine appointment, the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) estimated Wednesday.
This important milestone in returning to school safely was reached faster than expected and despite setbacks in state vaccine supply, thanks to partnerships and collaborations between SCOE, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Kaiser Permanente, local Sonoma County health clinics, and a huge team of volunteers.
There are roughly 17,000 school employees in Sonoma County, from preschool through college. SCOE launched its efforts to vaccinate school staff in early February at its clinic at the Rancho Cotate High School gymnasium in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. By next Thursday, March 25, SCOE will have administered roughly 9,000 vaccine doses (first and second) through its Rancho Cotate Clinic. Thousands of others have been vaccinated through the state’s MyTurn vaccination portal using codes provided by SCOE, through local clinics, or through their healthcare provider.
While it is impossible, due to patient privacy rules, to know exactly how many school employees have received their vaccination through the many avenues now available to them, the demand for school staff vaccines has diminished to almost nothing—indicating that most staff who want the vaccine have now had the opportunity to sign up for an appointment or have already received it.
“Thanks to numerous partnerships and an incredible team of volunteers, we estimate that all school employees will have been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated before the end of March,” said Jeff Harding, SCOE’s Vaccine Coordinator. “We are thankful for this opportunity to ensure the health and safety of school employees as in-person learning resumes.”
SCOE is now sending out a “last call” to childcare centers, preschools, and higher education institutions to ensure that every school employee who wants a vaccine, gets one.
“In the past few weeks, the pipeline for educator vaccines has opened considerably, allowing most school staff in Sonoma County access to receive a vaccine, either through SCOE’s clinic, their healthcare provider, a local clinic, or the state’s vaccination portal,” said Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools. “We are now working to ensure that no school employee misses the opportunity to be vaccinated.”
Any school employees who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to reach out to their employer to get information about how to be vaccinated at these clinics. Employers will have received information from SCOE regarding how to sign up staff for an appointment.
With most staff vaccinated and Cotati-Rohnert Park School District reopening and needing its gym for athletics, SCOE plans to close the clinic after Thursday, March 25.
However, thanks to a local partnership, vaccination efforts will continue: Safeway has offered to partner with SCOE to administer additional vaccines to school employees who still need them. SCOE will offer clinics for school employees at its Skylane Facility off Airport Drive on Thursday, March 18, and Saturday, March 20. Any school employee who still needs a vaccine is welcome to make an appointment. They can contact their supervisor to learn more.
“If you weren’t sure about getting vaccinated and missed your first opportunity, we encourage you to contact your employer or healthcare provider and sign up now,” said Harding. “There is still an opportunity for every school employee to get a vaccine.”