Inching toward progress, health officials this week are dishing out vaccine doses to the 75-and-over individuals, while school officials continue bringing students back, vaccinating their staff and working to avoid any potential liabilities.
Each week, more and more people become eligible for the vaccine, with those over 75 next in line. About 2,400 doses are allotted for this group this week, said Jason Davis, spokesperson for Lane County Public Health at Tuesday’s news briefing.
That entire shipment will be used in mass-vaccination style, Davis said, including the 525 doses allotted for educators this weekend.
“We’re certainly making use of our existing supply,” Davis said. The total allocation of doses rings in at 2,925 this week, and dose allotments are expected to spike soon.
“We hope that the vaccine doses follow that trajectory and we’re able to continue to vaccinate folks,” he said. “Next week we expect to receive 6,400 doses, and that (allotment) will continue for at least four weeks … based upon our senior population.”
National pharmacy partners are receiving vaccine doses from a federal level, including HealthMart pharmacies in Creswell and Eugene, said Jeannie Marr, the pharmacy’s chief executive officer. Other primary federal partners include CostCo and Albertsons.
Davis said that more doses are expected early next week. About 100 doses are expected per pharmacy in the first week, with a focus on the 75-plus population, Davis said. These partners will receive their own supply instead of dipping into the county’s allotted doses, meaning more doses for more people. Marr said the pharmacy is working off a waiting list and calling qualified patients.
Creswell schools superintendent Mike Johnson said at last week’s board meeting that about 40 educators a week are being vaccinated in the district. A school survey revealed that 88% of the district’s licensed staff – in-class educators and administrators – and 45% of classified staff – bus drivers and janitorial workers – intend to receive the vaccine. By mid-March, those who opted to receive the vaccine should total about 75%, he said.
EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE
Creslane Elementary School principal Amy Halley photographs students waving goodbye.
Johnson said his team is brainstorming how to address vaccine hesitation among staff.
“We’re talking about a COVID-19 situation that could bring long-term leaves and many of them with all different situations for different types of leaves,” Johnson said. “We’re finding our way; we’re constantly talking about it.”
Lane County school districts are in varying stages of onsite instruction, from fully in-person to hybrid models. The decision to continue onsite instruction hinges on two key factors: Case numbers must remain low and schools must also execute safety requirements to a “T.”
Johnson said there is no room for mistakes. “If the district remains within the metrics and can demonstrate their ability to follow all protocols,” he said the district could avoid a court case if an outbreak occurred.
“We started with small groups in our schools to work out the kinks, kind of get to know what we didn’t know,” Johnson said. “We’re navigating the virus to do what we can to bring kids in.”
Creslane Elementary principal Amy Halley said her plan is to send out a weekly update to families “so that they know what’s happening, especially in the event of things changing. If we have to press pause, if we have an increase in cases and we’re not allowed to bring more groups on. ... It’s hard to put dates out there knowing it could potentially change.”
Emma Routley contributed to this report.