Faculty, staff receive COVID-19 vaccine on campus

English teacher Ms. Kathryn Shuff receives her COVID-19 vaccination in Prep’s Lyceum.

This story was researched, reported, written, photographed, and edited by the Sentry I introductory journalism class period on Wednesday, March 10. All class members present participated.

On Thursday, March 10, many Prep teachers and staff members were able to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Lyceum on the Prep campus.

There are currently three major vaccines authorized for use in the United States, one from Moderna, one from Pfizer, and one from Johnson & Johnson. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine, but has a slightly lower level of protection against infection (although comparable protection against severe disease or death). Teachers at Prep received the Pfizer vaccine. 

Mississippi teachers and first responders were authorized to receive the vaccine starting March 1. Head of School Mr. Lawrence Coco said, “When the last executive order came out allowing teachers to be vaccinated, we encouraged our teachers to go ahead and make appointments.”

  A plan for an on-campus vaccination opportunity came about when Mr. Coco received a call from a member of the Jackson Prep family who works for Saint Dominic’s. They said there was a chance that the St. Dominic’s Caravan could come to Prep and vaccinate the staff. The school followed up and were able to get them to come.

 Forty-six Prep employees signed up to get the vaccine, although toward the end of the time that the medical personnel were on campus, slots were opened up for employees who had not initially signed up. 

A  nurse from the on-site vaccination team told The Sentry that people who receive the shot may have chills and a swollen arm but that all they need to do is take Tylenol. Other possible side effects of the vaccine may include tiredness, headaches, muscle pains, chills, fever, or nausea, but are generally temporary and will not affect all those vaccinated.

Many teachers expressed their pleasure with the process on Wednesday. All faculty members will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by Easter, if they wish to. It is not mandatory.  

English teacher Ms. Kathryn Shuff received the vaccine and claimed that it was “actually fairly painless” and that it was “better than a flu shot.” 

Mr. Kevin Robichaux, a social studies teacher, said that, despite some misgivings, he was “getting the vaccine in order to get things the way we want them to be.”  Many others also looked forward to getting the vaccine so that they could see family.

Mr. Coco noted that being vaccinated as soon as possible was “great for our older and at-risk teachers who could have a complication due to COVID.” Mr. Coco added that accelerating the vaccination of the faculty “gives us a better sense of comfort about doing school and making sure all of our teachers are safe.”

 As more Mississippians receive their vaccine and follow longstanding protocols, COVID-19 cases and related deaths continue their decline in the state. 

This new phase in the fight against  COVID-19 could see the state and the school get closer to pre-pandemic normalcy, but until then students and faculty alike are being cautioned to  wear their masks and social distance.