Forsyth County Department of Public Health, Novant Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health are partnering to expand COVID-19 vaccinations to school employees and child care providers starting on Feb. 24.
Once the state opens up Group 3, teachers, school employees and child care workers will be added to the list of those who are eligible to be vaccinated. Vaccinations for healthcare workers and seniors 65 years of age and older will continue. All three organizations will be working together to coordinate vaccine doses, staff and appointments to help meet demand, which at this time far exceeds the supply of vaccine allocated by the state.
The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School (WS/FCS) system has 9,336 employees and 100 contractors. So far, approximately 800 school system employees, eligible under Groups 1 and 2, have been vaccinated. Moving forward, WS/FCS and private schools in Forsyth County will schedule vaccinations for their employees on a weekly basis. The total number of available appointments remains dependent on vaccine allocation. Vaccination appointments will take place at Forsyth County Public Health’s mass vaccination site at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Education Building or at Novant Health’s mass vaccination site at Hanes Mall. Wake Forest Baptist Health will provide additional staff and vaccine at the Fairgrounds site. Plans for child care providers are currently being developed.
“Forsyth County Department of Public Health is working together with our partners to ensure we can vaccinate school employees and child care providers while continuing to ensure seniors and healthcare workers have access to the vaccine,” said Deputy County Manager and Health and Human Services Director Shontell Robinson. “We appreciate our partners for their vital assistance in this effort. Because the supply of vaccine is limited, we urge the public to remain patient, as it will take some time to vaccinate everyone who qualifies.”
“We are eager to vaccinate school system employees and child care workers,” said Dr. Pam Oliver, executive vice president and president of Novant Health’s physician network. “Protecting care givers, educators and school employees is a crucial step in our COVID-19 recovery efforts. Although we continue to face supply challenges, our coordinated vaccination efforts will help ensure that all eligible groups have access to appointments.”
“We are committed to working together to provide vaccinations to those who educate and care for our children and we hope that the increased demand will be accompanied by an increased amount of vaccine allocated to Forsyth County,” said Wake Forest Baptist Health President Dr. Kevin High. “However, it is imperative that we also continue to vaccinate those who are 65 and older, while partnering with community groups and faith organizations to ensure equitable access to those in historically marginalized populations who are disproportionately affected by this disease.”