Education workers at Norwich Free Academy received the first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine Friday. Nutmeg Pharmacy Taftville provided the school with the shots, hosting an on-site clinic for 200 employees.
“Teachers won’t have to miss school days and kids won’t have to miss classes for teachers that have appointment outside of the school," said Dr. Brian Kelly, head of school at NFA. "And we are not going to clog up another system with teachers trying to get appointments. It is much more convenient for us."
Nutmeg Pharmacy reached out to NFA after they learned that school workers would be eligible for the vaccine.
“It is a small, community, family-owned pharmacy. Our main goal with vaccinating everyone here at NFA was just to reach out and be part of the community," said Jason Navallil, pharmacy manager. “If we can vaccinate these teachers, how much safer are they going to be while they are going back to school and obviously that is such an important thing.”
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According to Kelly, 95% of the staff opted in for the shot. Nutmeg Pharmacy will return to NFA in 28 days to administer second doses. Vaccinations will play a critical role in bringing students back for five days of in-person learning a week.
“We are hoping by the end of the school year that we will have everybody back into school full time," said Kelly.
Uncas Health District is teaming up with Yale New Haven Health to vaccinate other teachers in the Norwich region.
Statewide, the goal is for all education workers to receive one dose by the end of the month.
Teachers at NFA told NBC Connecticut they were thankful to receive the vaccine on campus.
"I know this is the best thing for me to not only protect my community, but the school as a whole," said Natasha Gambrell, an intervention specialist at NFA.