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Florence 1 Schools employees receive COVID-19 vaccine

Starting this week, more than forty Florence 1 Schools employees are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through McLeod Health.

F1S Lead Nurse Beth Holzbach said nurses are included in DHEC’s Phase 1a distribution plan and that McLeod also included the district’s related services employees like occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists.  

“As of right now (Tuesday afternoon), six of our nurses have already gone to take the vaccine,” Holzbach said. “This will be dose one of two doses. We are thrilled that we are able to get it; the process of registering and getting the vaccine is very smooth and organized.”

Holzbach said that employees will receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“The Pfizer vaccine went to the larger medical centers because of the storage requirements,” Holzbach said. “We are very appreciative of the fact that McLeod made certain we were included.”

Holzbach said that the district’s current remote learning will give her nurses the opportunity to get the vaccine without interrupting schools.

“Florence 1 nurses, OTs, PTs and other school district providers are often the front line of care for students, teachers, and staff. It is imperative that they receive every opportunity to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus. We know that vaccinations, masking, social distancing and hand hygiene are those tools in the arsenal to reduce spread of this pandemic and even save lives. We appreciate the community partnering in this strategy to move beyond this unprecedented health care event,” said Jumana Swindler, McLeod Health Vice President of Communications and Marketing. 

“McLeod Health is pleased to continue to provide COVID19 vaccinations to our F1S healthcare workers and continues to vaccinate mission-critical healthcare workers based on Phase 1a of the South Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Plan. General public vaccinations will be announced by DHEC and the CDC as vaccine availability increases."

Florence 1 Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said that he hopes that the start of this vaccine distribution will bring hope to everyone.

“Our school community, and the larger Florence community, has experienced a lot of change and uncertainty,” O’Malley said. “I believe that the arrival of this vaccine locally, and the news that Florence 1 employees are beginning to receive it, will be good news for all of us.”