LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools nurse Bobbie Lester wanted to set an example for her coworkers on Friday by becoming the first of 40 district employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I wear the mask, I wash my hands, I do the social distancing, so this is just another piece of it,” Lester told WAVE 3 News. “It’s just a vaccine, and it’s here to protect us, and that’s what I want my coworkers to understand.”
Lester was given the injection at Jefferson County’s drive-thru vaccination facility inside Broadbent Arena on Friday. She told reporters she wanted to show her colleagues that the vaccination is safe so they can safely return to school.
“The reason it’s important to me is because I’m a caregiver, and we were taught to take care of ourselves first,” Lester said. “I want to do my part, I want to go back to work, I want the children to go back to the classroom, and this is why I’m doing it today.”
About 40 other JCPS nurses received their vaccinations Friday.
Although some teachers told WAVE 3 News they were reluctant to get the shot at first after hearing about it, they soon realized that protecting themselves is the best thing for their students.
“At the end of the day my God has us covered, and we’re going to be strong for the kids,” JCPS nurse Denise McDougle said.
JCPS has approximately 60 nurses to vaccinate under Kentucky’s Phase 1A. Once the state’s remaining healthcare workers and those in long-term facilities receive their shots, Kentucky’s teachers will be able to receive their shots.
According to JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio, 12,884 district educators have signed up for the shot. He told reporters the district is eager to receive the doses and hopes at least some of them will arrive around Jan. 25 through Feb. 1 so students can return to class soon.
“We’ve known for a while that unfortunately the vaccine is the pathway to get us back, so seeing this happening and being here, I’ve seen it on the news and on tv the past few days, but to see this actually happening and knowing that teachers are up next, I know that we’re almost there,” Pollio said.
Pollio said there are 1,900 JCPS educators who declined to take the vaccination when it becomes available. He also stated that all educators, vaccinated or not, can return to in-person teaching. However, the district will make reasonable accommodations for those who want the vaccine.