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Ohio County Schools Employees Get Vaccine

Photo by Scott McCloskey Linsly School Maintenance Supervisor Bill Turkaly, right, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at Wheeling Park High School Friday morning. Wheeling pharmacist John Brower administers the vaccine.

WHEELING — Ohio County Schools employees arriving at Wheeling Park High School on Friday showed happiness, excitement and a little relief to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

School district staff over the age of 50 turned out for the immunization clinic, which took place in the school’s cafeteria. Employees from private and parochial schools in Ohio County also were invited to participate and receive their first of two COVID shots.

School officials expected at least 240 to be innoculated between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday. The shots were arranged by the West Virginia Department of Education, and provided through the Warwood Kroger and pharmacist Matt Rafa.

“It was an injection of hope,” said Lynn Uraco, secretary in the Ohio County Schools central office. “I’m hopeful this is the beginning of a happy ending. It has been very stressful.”

Uraco indicated she had been separated from some family members during the COVID epidemic.

Among the first to receive a shot was Jerry Ames, a maintenance worker at WPHS. He also serves as president of the Ohio County School Service Personnel Association, and vice president of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.

Ames said he had had a recent battle with COVID.

“It is very, very important our people come out and get this shot,” he said. “If they went through what I went through, they wouldn’t question whether it was a bad or good thing. COVID is bad.

“I am asking all service personnel to take the shot. Don’t take any chances.”

Employees filled out surveys this week before being assigned a scheduled time to arrive for their vaccinations.

Dwaine Rodgers, athletic director and assistant principal at WPHS, was set to receive his shot at 9:45 a.m. He arrived a few minutes before then, and had been directed to enter through the activities entrance at the school. Once inside, the employees signed in with event coordinator Leah Stout, special education director with Ohio County Schools; Amy Minch, attendance director; and Superintendent Kim Miller.

From there they moved on to a second intake station, where they were asked medical questions, given paperwork and sent on to the third station to confer with a nurse. \The nurse advised them what they could expect from the shot, and answered their questions.

The fourth station is where the employees received their vaccinations.

From there, they were moved on to the Beneke Theatre, where they were told to stay for at least 15 minutes to make certain they had no adverse effects from the shot.

Rodgers said he was willing to get the shot after having conversations with people he knows in the healthcare profession, and that they had advised him it was the thing to do.

“So I’m going to follow that,” he said. “I’m both excited and anxious to receive the shot.”

Following the procedure, Rodgers said he “barely felt much.” Every year Rodgers gets a flu shot, and he said he often feels the pressure of the medication in his arm with that inoculation. That was not the same with the COVID vaccination, according to Rodgers.

Rodgers and all those getting shots received a card indicating they had received their first dose of the vaccine, and they were told they needed to keep these. They will receive a call to set up the time for their second shot, which is to happen in 28 days.

Michael Romick, a language arts teacher at WPHS, said he also felt no discomfort from the shot.

“I was actually looking forward to this,” he said of the vaccination. “This is one time I’m glad I’m over the age of 50.”

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