“What a relief”: Brevard County teachers begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Brevard Public Schools is partnering with area medical centers to get teachers vaccinated against COVID-19.

School employees are now eligible to get the vaccine under new state guidelines.

However, with varying state and federal guidelines, educators who want the vaccine are being encouraged to get it wherever they can.

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Brevard County Teacher and member of the Brevard Federation of Teachers Jonathan Hilliard says he’s just glad to be a part of the solution.

“What a relief,” Hilliard says. “I just can’t explain the feeling of knowing I’m protected now.”

Hilliard traveled to Orlando to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and says he’s just grateful he was eligible.

“Having this vaccine has greatly powered the risk to our teachers, and now they can get back to creating those relationships, being face-to-face,” Hilliard says.

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Under the expanded state guidelines, school employees, law enforcement, and firefighters over the age of 50 are eligible to be vaccinated, along with those under the age of 65 considered medically vulnerable.

Under federal guidelines, all Florida teachers, regardless of age, are eligible for the vaccine.

Rockledge Regional Medical Center has made appointments to administer 200 doses to educators this weekend.

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“The school district itself is identifying staff for us,” Rockledge Regional Chief Operating Officer Tom Bowden says. “They’re working with their insurance partners and identifying those high-risk individuals and passing the names along to us to run them through the clinic.”

Rockledge Regional, a Steward Family hospital, is also partnering with private schools in Brevard County to get their employees vaccinated.

“Every shot that we are able to give, we feel strongly gets us one step closer to get us back to that sense of normal we had one year ago.”