North Carolina teachers await COVID-19 vaccine ahead of eligibility expanding Wednesday

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 7:18 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Teachers, school and daycare staff members across North Carolina become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

Several school districts in our area are working with health systems to hold clinics.

In Mecklenburg County, the only teachers getting shots on Wednesday are the ones lucky to have secured an appointment on their own.

“We’ve just been trying to hunt down a spot to get vaccinated,” CMS teacher Courtney Riley told WBTV.

Riley teaches visual arts at Rea Farms Steam Elementary School.

“I know a few people who got appointments this week or soon after, but I think a lot of us were overwhelmed and trying to teach at the same time, so thought I’ll wait until later when more slots open up, but they haven’t,” Riley said.

Riley could not get a slot through the Mecklenburg County Health Department or area hospitals.

She’s not alone.

“I spent hours and hours looking for an appointment to no avail,” Cabarrus County Schools teacher Meredith Newman said.

Newman took matters into her own hands.

“I got a call from a friend of a friend who knew where there was a leftover vaccine and could I go right now?” she said. “And I went!”

To help her co-workers, Newman would like to see her district do what some other counties are doing.

On Wednesday in Gaston County, 1,000 teachers and childcare workers will get shots at CaroMont Regional Medical Center.

In Iredell County, they will also give 1,000 shots to teachers and school staff at Iredell Memorial Hospital.

Riley is looking forward to the day she gets a shot.

“I want to contribute to the safety of schools so we can stay open and I want to do whatever I can to be a part of that solution,” she said.

After this interview, Riley got an email from CMS notifying her of two upcoming vaccine clinics for teachers through Novant Health.

She and her husband, who is also a teacher, got appointments for this Saturday.

According to the CMS email, appointments are available at two sites:

Novant Health Mecklenburg East Vaccine Site:

Appointments are available beginning Thursday, Feb. 25-Tuesday, March 2 from 4 to 7 p.m.

  • 300 appointments per day

McClintock Middle School:

Appointments are available this Saturday, Feb. 27 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • 450 total appointments

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