Atlanta Public Schools announces dates for mass vaccination events

Atlanta Public Schools will hold large COVID-19 vaccination events later this month to give shots to as many as 8,000 employees and contractors.

Superintendent Lisa Herring announced the dates in a Friday email to staff. Through a partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health, the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered on March 24, 26 and 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The second dose will be provided April 14, 16 and 17. The events will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Your health and safety continue to be my top priority, and I want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and to continue your COVID-19 surveillance testing each week,” Herring wrote. “Also, please know that your employment will not be affected by your vaccination decision.”

Georgia’s teachers and school district employees will be eligible for the vaccine starting Monday.

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Some other districts also announced vaccination plans recently. The state’s largest system, Gwinnett County Public Schools, said it will start vaccinating employees beginning this week.

In the much-smaller Barrow County, roughly 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, teachers and staff who signed up will receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 11. They’ll get the second shot April 1, according to a news release.

It’s still unclear exactly how many Atlanta educators will choose to get vaccinated.

APS said county health officials secured vaccines to cover 8,000 people.

The district employs 7,345 part-time and full-time workers, including substitute teachers. The district also is including those employed by its two dozen charter schools in the effort.

In the district’s most recent vaccine survey, about two thirds of respondents so far, or 5,168 people, said they want to be contacted when appointments are available. Another 2,561 respondents asked not to be contacted, according to numbers provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to an open-records request. A district spokesman said those who declined to be contacted include some who already took the vaccine.

More than 40% of APS employees who responded to an earlier survey said they are hesitant or unwilling to get vaccinated.

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The district will host an informational meeting on Wednesday for staff about the upcoming events.

Herring told a group of parents during a recent meeting the district will continue to provide information about the vaccine and its importance.

“Now (that) we know it’s available, we still have work to do,” she said.

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