It was a day of hope, and another triumph in the fight against COVID-19, as the first Canyons District teachers and staff began receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Canyons joined Salt Lake County school districts in a unified plan for distributing the vaccine in phases as health authorities make supplies available. Among the first 1,280 CSD employees invited to receive their first dose of the two-dose Moderna vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14 was Terri Petersen, a first grade teacher from Granite Elementary School.
“It’s a relief,” the 68-year-old said after receiving her shot at the District’s pop-up vaccine clinic at a Mount Jordan Middle School. “ I’m just grateful for everyone who has made this possible, on the national and local level. I’m grateful for the scientists. I feel fortunate to live in a day and age when this is possible.”
School districts were allotted supplies of vaccine based on their size, or enrollments. In succeeding weeks, more employees will be vaccinated as more doses are made available. Second doses will be reserved for administering to employees 28 days following the receipt of their first dose.
It was a smooth and orderly process at Thursday’s clinic. Canyons employees were scheduled to receive their shots at appointed times so as to spare them from having to wait in long lines. The clinic, staffed by CSD nurses and health professionals from Community Nursing Services, was able to administer eight shots every minute. For each employee, the entire process, from intake to checkout, took about 30 minutes.
“This is a big day,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins, “a day we hope will be the beginning of the end of COVID in our community.”
It will take several weeks to inoculate all employees, and Canyons schools will continue to follow the safety protocols currently in place, such as wearing face coverings, until health officials determine it’s safe to do otherwise.
But, for many, Thursday’s first shots were a shot of hope — a sign that returning to normal is on the horizon.
“Just, the worry will be gone,” says Petersen for whom the vaccine is an extra layer of security, bringing her closer to a time when she won’t have to worry as much about going grocery shopping or visiting her husband’s parents.