California Educator

February/March 2021

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Resources and Information C T A C O N T I N U E S T O demand that schools not reopen until they are safe for students, educators and our communities. Vaccines are one component of comprehensive safety efforts. Read CTA's stance on reopening schools and the Jan. 27 letter to state leaders at Be sure to check out CTA's COVID-19 vaccine resources, including FAQs for educators and latest updates, at path of opening schools in person." To do otherwise, the letter says, "will continue the 'yo-yo' effect we warned of last sum- mer and this fall — opening schools, only to then close them because we failed to have the necessary layered protections and asymptomatic testing in place." K e n s r u e s o l d i e r s o n , n o t i n g t h a t the biggest hurdle in the county at the moment is not having enough vaccina- tors. "Many providers who are able to give vaccines are already overburdened in the hospitals and clinics with our current surge of COVID patients," she says. Her husband and three daughters have been supportive of her long weekend and evening hours, understanding that what she does is helping the community get through the pandemic a little faster. "Although the shifts at the vaccine clin- ics are long (10-hour shifts) and physically demanding, I cannot think of a better way to spend my weekends right now. ere is hope in people's eyes and gratitude in their hearts. I plan on being in it for the long haul." Interested medical and nonmedical volunteers in Orange County can sign up at see in clinical trials. This was important because people want to know: Is the vaccine going to work for me? Maybe I'm older, maybe I have high-risk med- ical conditions, maybe I'm worried there are differences by race/ethnicity. [Pfizer and Moderna's trials showed] efficacy by age, race, ethnicity, whether you were considered frontline workers, and including teachers and educa- tional support staff. All groups had high levels of efficacy. What about children and youth? Pfizer and Moderna are enrolling people down to age 12, which to effectively reopen high schools is important data to have. For educators and reopening, the hardest has been at high school and university levels, because you can't cohort people as effectively in a bubble as you can in elementary school. What can most people who get the vaccine expect to experience? The majority can expect some tenderness and redness at the vaccine site; that's common within two or three days, and usually lasts less than 48 hours. A smaller proportion will have reactions such as headaches, chills and fever within a few days; they are short-lived. What would you say to someone who's unsure about getting vaccinated? Risk is extremely high in communities — just look at California. Hospitals are full, and our death rates from COVID are higher than just about anywhere else. If you compare the risk of getting infected in the general population versus vaccine recipients, to me that's proof of why I would want to get a vaccine. Your risk goes way down, and the vaccine seems durable for at least the coming months. Your thoughts on the overall rollout? I'm feeling good about the new administration being able to restore the voice of science in our conversations and decision-making, and having the federal government speak with a single voice to where we are in the pandemic, what supplies we have in hand, and what we need ahead. Leadership is criti- cal for us to move forward together. With effective communication, good national leadership and good plan- ning, I am confident that we'll be able to vaccinate rapidly and protect everyone who wants this protection. I think that's what will make the differ- ence for us all in addressing the pandemic. Kensrue suited up for her volunteer work. 21 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 21

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