Educators in New Hampshire are hopeful that they will soon be inoculated against the coronavirus.
State leaders say any teacher who wants the coronavirus vaccine will be able to get it by the end of March.
To speed up the rollout for educators, the state is allowing school districts to host their own vaccine clinics.
Some teachers in the Sanborn Regional School District say that having a vaccine clinic inside their own gymnasium is more than just convenient — it also calmed any nerves they had about getting the shot.
“It feels like the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sanborn High School teacher Nicole St. Jean.
Sanborn educators have been face-to-face with students since October.
“The beginning of the school year was very scary,” said Sanborn Middle School teacher Sarah Brown.
Wednesday, she got her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“A huge relief,” Brown said, taking a deep breath.
A clinic was held inside the high school gym for all Sanborn and Fremont faculty and staff. About 325 people took advantage.
“That included teachers, guidance counselors, support staff, bus drivers, custodians, and other people associated with the school,” said Sanborn High School Principal Brian Stack.
“It was so convenient,” explained Brown. “We didn’t have to leave work, use sick time, arrange for sub coverage, your kids aren’t missing out.”
The school district in Manchester and others across the state have done the same thing.
The clinics are all hosted by the regional public health networks, which are nonprofits that get doses from the state.
“We gave the option to our regional public health networks to take their allocation and give it to schools through those clinics,” said Perry Plummer, the head of the state’s vaccine response team.
Plummer says it’s a multi-pronged approach with the intent of getting educators vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“It’s helpful for me as building administrator to know that by a certain date, all of my staff will have been vaccinated if they want to be, which most do,” Stack said.
The second-dose clinic at Sanborn High School is set for April 7.
“It came sooner than we expected, so we were excited,” St. Jean said.
“It’s so reassuring to know that the district and the state, they care enough to bring it right to us,” said another teacher, Sandra Woodman.
Not every school district in the state has had the option for a local clinic, but Plummer says there are enough available appointments at other sites that all educators should be able to have their first shot before the end of the month.