Since the beginning of March, Parkland Hospital has helped vaccinate Dallas Independent School District teachers in an effort to return to the classroom.
One Dallas ISD teacher said once she received the email about the district and hospital system pairing up to help vaccinate educators, she jumped at the opportunity.
“Thanks to that, I was able to get vaccinated, and I feel stress-free," said Lizbeth Melendez, a pre-k bilingual teacher at Winnetka Elementary School who's been interacting face-to-face with students since October.
She received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and said she did have some minor side effects.
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"Pain in my shoulder nothing major, and it lasted a few hours. The second time I took my dose, Pfizer, I felt a little bit of nauseous and drowsiness, other than that, it was just for that day, and the next day I felt great," Melendez said.
She said she recognized some of her colleagues had reservations about getting vaccinated, but after seeing others, they felt more confident.
"So right now our school, the majority are already vaccinated. As far as my team, I was one of the first ones to get vaccinated," she said.
"As a teacher, I wanted to be the model and I wanted to make sure I educated my parents and be part of the solution," she said. "I do it for myself to be protected, but also for my family and my community so as a teacher, I feel like it’s my duty to do anything that it takes to stay safe and also keep my kids safe.”
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said he wanted everyone to be back to in-person learning in August. He said he believed the vaccine will help achieve that goal.
"If we can all do this between now and then, I think we can have a great chance to get back to somewhat normal,” Hinojosa in a statement. “I think this is the only way we can conquer this very difficult pandemic. It’s all of us working together.”
He received his first shot at Ellis Davis Field House, a Parkland location which is now accepting people without appointments, in March.
So far, Parkland Hospital has administered more than 250,000 vaccines to the community since Dec. 15.
“We’re trying to vaccinate as many people as we can because we will not reach herd or population immunity until we vaccinate approximately 80% of the population," said Dr. Arlene Betancourt, medical director for employee health integration at Parkland. "We want to send our kids back to school to protect our kids and our teachers. It's really important to offer the vaccination.”
People can sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by clicking here.