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Teachers Receive COVID-19 Vaccines at North Oaks Immunization Clinic

Teachers Receive COVID-19 Vaccines at North Oaks Immunization Clinic

In response to the recent expansion of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility in Louisiana, North Oaks Immunization Clinic made 297 appointments available for K-12 teachers and support staff March 6. Participants received their first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine. Participants will return April 3 to receive their second dose.

“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to assist with vaccinating area teachers and support staff, who have so selflessly adapted and persevered to continue educating our children throughout the pandemic,” asserts North Oaks Chief Operating Officer Michael Watkins.

Dr. Robert Peltier, chief medical officer for North Oaks, who was on-site during the clinic shared in Watkins’ excitement, adding, “Anything we can do to work toward normalcy and the overall health and well-being of our community is of paramount importance to us as a health system.”

With many schools continuing to offer hybrid variants of both classroom and online instruction, the event was greeted by many as an important step towards a more normalized post-COVID learning environment.

“It’s very exciting to be able to get the vaccine, move toward the next phase of reopening the state and hopefully being able to soon return to in-person education for all of our students every day of the week,” comments Hammond High Magnet School Principal Shelly Gaydos.

“The process was beautiful,” Gaydos continues. “It was so quick. I am very impressed with the entire experience.”

Darius Woodfork with Independence Middle Magnet School appreciated the overall efficiency of the vaccination process.

“I was able to register online, arrive and go straight to the back,” said Woodfork. “Everyone was so helpful.”

Woodfork also noted how receiving the vaccination was an opportunity to illustrate the importance of social responsibility to students.

“It’s our chance to be role models for the children when it comes to being safe,” adds Woodfork. “It’s a good opportunity to show students how important it is to take time out to take care of yourself.”

Ponchatoula Junior High School teacher Chris Soldat also gave North Oaks high marks for efficiency. “The process is very streamlined. It was great. I have 16 years of military experience, and I’m telling you that North Oaks has this very well coordinated. I came in, signed some documents, went straight back, took a shot, and now I’m on my way and one step closer to a healthier lifestyle,” Soldat shares.

A sense of duty to protect vulnerable members of the community was another common motivator among vaccine recipients like Loranger High School’s Kali Gaskins and Ponchatoula Junior High’s Quadesha Stewart, whose thoughts turned to her mother and an aunt who has cancer.

“We can be more protected as a community,” Gaskins explains.

For most participants, vaccination represents an important step towards reestablishing normal routines and lifestyles, including traveling and family gatherings.

Kima Davis, assistant principal of Hammond High Magnet School, and many others voiced optimism for the future.

“You almost feel like you’re at the forefront of something,” said Davis. “You’re nervous and anxious about coming to do this, but to encounter a process that is effective and in place and all executed so seamlessly takes away the anxiety. I feel like it really and truly is the beginning of returning to some sense of normalcy.”

Davis notes, “We had multiple options to receive the vaccine, but I chose to come here, and I’m glad that I did.”

“The Tangipahoa Parish School System would like to thank the administration and staff of North Oaks Health System for providing a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for our employees,” asserts Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa M. Stilley. “We are proud to partner with North Oaks and take the next step in fighting COVID-19.”

North Oaks Immunization Clinic is located on the North Oaks Medical Center campus in Hammond. Those with appointments should enter the campus via Medical Arts Plaza Drive from Highway 51 Business/Veterans Boulevard, use Parking Lot C and follow the blue “IMM” signs to the Immunization Clinic entrance.

Based on vaccine supply, one or more of the following vaccines may be available for scheduling through the North Oaks Immunization Clinic: Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech. Appointments may be scheduled here or by calling (985) 230-SHOT [7468].