School district staff can start to receive a COVID vaccine shot this week. (File photo)

School district staff can start to receive a COVID vaccine shot this week. (File photo)

Central Okanagan School District staff to get COVID vaccine shot

Interior Health quickly sets up clinics for AstraZeneca and Pfizer shots this week

Central Okanagan public school teachers are feeling some relief to finally be getting a shot in the arm.

Interior Health announced Wednesday that teachers and other employees of Central Okanagan Public Schools can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at several clinics beginning today.

Susan Bauhart, president of the Central Okanagan Teachers Association, said teachers are generally keen to get vaccinated, while there is some initial concern about teachers currently in self-isolation for COVID exposures being able to get their vaccine dose.

Bauhart said if any teachers are missed in this initial pop-up vaccination clinic process, she is confident there will be further make-up clinic sessions as further vaccine supply become available.

“I have a lot of sympathy for the school district HR department in trying to organize people for this with the teacher posting season for new positions starting up on Monday,” she said.

Moyra Baxter, chair of the Central Okanagan Board of Education, confirmed Interior Health gave the vaccine go-ahead to the school district Wednesday, with the clinics to continue into the early part of next week.

IH had put clinic vaccination plans in place for school district staff last month before pulling back due to a shortfall of vaccine.

“Our argument has been that school district staff in the Lower Mainland are being vaccinated and we have just as many exposure cases as some districts down there,” Baxter said.

“So we are really pleased this is finally happening.”

While acknowledging not much advance notice was given for the vaccine clinics, Baxter said school district administration are working to make sure “everyone who wants a vaccine shot will get one.”

Employees over the age of 30 will get an AstraZeneca vaccine shot. Those under 30 will bet a Pfizer shot.

The clinics were to begin operating today and continue through at least Monday, and possibly remain open on the weekend to deal with the potential volume of vaccine recipients in a short period of time.

The school district has about 4,050 part- and full-time staff, from teachers and support staff to janitors and bus drivers.

The clinic sites initially were set for Mount Boucherie Secondary, Ecole Kelowna Senior Secondary and George Elliot Secondary schools for AstraZeneca shots, while Trinity Baptist Church on Springfield Road in Kelowna will be the Pfizer inoculation site.