NEW ORLEANS — One by one, folks drove up for a shot in the arm Wednesday at the Alario Center in Jefferson Parish. When they drove off, they had their first Moderna COVID vaccine.
“I think I was very unprepared for how emotional it was,” said Lyndsey Jackson.
Jackson is a preschool teacher who registered Monday for one of the only 500 available spots. Just more than 200 other teachers filtered through the drive-up mass vaccination event as well.
“I have coworkers that are in line behind me,” said Jackson. “We were texting each other our pictures with our cards and we’re like, ‘yay, vaccination day.’”
Vaccination day took her less than an hour, time well spent considering the last year.
“For the last year we have been filled with so much anxiety and fear and I feel like I am finally able to take a deep breath,” said Jackson
That deep breath comes after the governor announced teachers and school employees would be eligible for the vaccine, which created a wave of interest.
“The minute the governor announced that teachers were eligible for vaccines, we immediately started getting calls,” said Dr. Amanda Jackson, vice president of physician’s services at Children’s Hospital.
The hospital has been partnering with schools for a wellness program called THRIVE KIDS. Part of that program is now helping teachers get vaccinated. With vaccination demand outweighing supply the hospital is working to schedule appointments through a COVID hotline.
“Our teachers are front line,” said Dr. Jackson. “We want to make sure that they are kept as safe as possible while they’re educating our kids.”
Those kids are a big part of the reason Jackson was excited to snag a spot.
“This isn’t just a step for me, to protect me. It’s to protect my loved ones, the people that I live with, but also the sweet little kiddos that are in my class,” said Jackson. “I’m protecting them and their families.”
Protection extending beyond the classroom, creating a lesson of community and health.