Covid-19 Vaccine

Colchester Elementary Closed Monday After Staff Experience Side Effects from COVID-19 Vaccine

School officials cited the side effects and a lack of substitutes for the closure and plan to open on Tuesday.

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Colchester Elementary School was closed Monday because some teachers experienced some side effects after getting the coronavirus vaccine over the weekend and there was a lack of substitute teachers to fill in.

Supt. Jeffrey Burt said there was a vaccination clinic on Saturday and 17 Colchester Elementary School staff members, including nine who teach in core-area classrooms, who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine had some side effects that kept them out of work today.

“Typical side-effects, the fever, the aches, the pains, etc.,” Burt said.

Around 700 people went to East Hampton High School Saturday for the Chatham Health District COVID-19 vaccine clinic designated for educators, officials said.

Included in that group were educators and staff from the Colchester School District.

Three coronavirus vaccines have been approved and school district leaders were not sure before the clinic opened which type of COVID-19 vaccine staff members were going to receive.

Colchester school officials said the district originally expected Pfizer or Moderna shots, which are two-dose vaccinations, so they were planning for staff to receive their second dose in April, or around Good Friday, and have another day for school staff to recover after receiving their second shot.

Then, a day or two before the vaccination clinic, they realized they would be receiving Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are single-dose vaccines.

“It wasn’t until recently we had discovered it was the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that went on Saturday, which I guess now is having some side effects with the one-dose,” Burt said.

The school district informed parents about the situation and that classes would be canceled on Monday due to lingering side effects and a lack of substitute teachers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people might have some side effects, which are normal signs that the body is building protection.

Some people have no side effects.

Accordingt to the CDC, side effects might affect a person's ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Typical side effects of the vaccines include pain, redness and swelling on the arm the shot was administered to and tiredness, a headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea, according to the CDC.

Johnson & Johnson has more information about the vaccine and potential side effects posted online here.

Colchester school leaders said communication and safety, along with having a backup plan, are key priorities and no changes are being made to cancel the next vaccine clinic at East Hampton High School this week.

The school district plans to open Colchester Elementary School on Tuesday and staff members within the district will have the ability to get their shot on Friday and Saturday. 

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