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Lucas County teachers, staff get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at mass vaccination clinic

Teachers and school staff are excited to roll up their sleeve for the COVID-19 vaccine. They say it's a step closer to getting kids back to school full time.

TOLEDO, Ohio — History in the making Friday as K-12 teachers and school staff roll up their sleeves to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I feel confident that I made the right decision. I did what was best for not only myself, but for my community and for the kids," said Toledo School for the Arts Counselor Ciera Ford.

RELATED: Lucas County superintendents receive COVID-19 vaccine

The two-day mass vaccination clinic is being held on the University of Toledo's campus.

Lucas County health officials expect around 8,000 people to get the shot in a 48-hour time period.

"We needed a facility that could accommodate up to 8,000 individuals for a two-day period. We plan to vaccinate 400 individuals each hour," UToledo's Chief Pharmacy and Quality Officer Russ Smith said. 

Around 4,000 teachers and employees received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Friday, the same amount expected Saturday.

Many of whom say they didn't have to think twice about the decision.

"I knew it was the right thing to do for our community," Maumee City Schools' Lisa Edelbrock said.

"I knew right away," Ford said.

"I knew right away I wanted to do it, for my family, myself and those around me," Burroughs Elementary student teacher Alyson Naugle said.

Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski says this is historic for our community and the next step toward normalcy. 

It's also a big undertaking for the county, but the health commissioner says if everything goes the way they organized it, there will be a constant stream of people going in and out of the area with very little wait time.

"I think that's something that's unique about what we're trying to do here in Lucas County. We've set up this process, it's harder for us, but it moves people quickly through the process so they're not standing around," Zgodzinski said.

Those getting their vaccine say the process was quick and organized. They also say they're excited to play their part during this important time. 

"It's super, super cool to be one of the first people taking this step. One day I'm going to be able to tell my grandkids about this so I'm really, really happy," Jackman Elementary student teacher Riley Cornett said.

Area educators are excited to see our county take another step in the direction to get us to herd immunity and students in the classroom fulltime. 

"It just means that our kids can get back in school all the sooner and everybody is feeling safe. It's really important for the kids to be back in school," Edelbrock said.

"It means our students can finally come back, which is huge. Our students are really suffering socially and emotionally. Just being at home and having to deal with the trials and tribulations just being a youth, but then also the pandemic itself," Ford said.

By the end of the mass vaccination clinic, Zgodzinski says we should have over 10% of our population vaccinated.