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Akron Public Schools teachers get their first COVID-19 vaccines

However, there is more demand than supply

AKRON, Ohio — There lot of demand, but not enough supply in Akron, where district teachers on Saturday finally received their first Covid-19 shots.

"It was so easy," first grade teacher Karen Prayner said. "I was in and out, I think, within six minutes. I have confidence that this is the right thing."

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But it has been a bumpy thing. The district is roughly 2,200 doses short of what it needs, and was forced to make the tough call of who went first. Leaders decided which grades should first return to the classroom, and then in turn began by vaccinating teachers in those grades.

"We have this process in place," Akron Public Schools Executive Director of Business Affairs Debra Foulk told 3News. "The next decision for the superintendent is to recommend to the board exactly when it will be feasible to start bringing students back."

To qualify for vaccines, schools in Ohio had to commit to resuming in-person learning (or at least hybrid learning) by March 1. That day will likely come in Akron before everyone has had their second dose.

The CDC now says vaccinations are not required to safely reopen, but tell that to Diana Muhammad, a teacher in Chicago who had a daughter with the coronavirus.

“Maybe before my daughter...spent a week in the ICU, [I] would have been more for, 'Oh let's get this going and, you know, rush back in,'" she said. "But now that I have experienced the horror of COVID-19, I would say it's not worth the risk.:

Ohio is among 24 states that have made some or all teachers eligible for the vaccine, yet it made no guarantee that every teacher would receive the vaccine on time. The vast majority of districts are accepting the vaccine in exchange for resuming in-person learning, with the only exception being a district near Dayton.