La Crosse County Health Department holds vaccination site for educators at Onalaska High School

The site ran from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday; county health leaders say there were 225 COVID-19 vaccine doses available

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse County educators are rolling up their sleeves to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 200 educators got their shots at a La Crosse County Health Department-run vaccination site at Onalaska High School Friday evening.

La Crosse County health leaders say there were 225 doses available.

Many schools in La Crosse County did virtual learning full-time for a large portion of the school year.

The principal at Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse says the school environment has been so much different than what she’s used to.

When she heard she was eligible to get the vaccine, she says it was quite the relief.

“What I was thinking was ‘jeez, it’s about time,'” Lincoln Middle School principal Melissa Murray said. “And I think most educators in the state of Wisconsin are thinking the same thing. You know, everybody wanted their kids back in school. Everybody wants the economy to reopen. The quicker we can get everybody vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to something that looks a little more like prior to March of ’20.”

The health department says vaccinating county residents age 65 and older is still a top priority.

Some people are questioning why teachers are getting vaccine ahead of the rest of the age 65+ population. A health department educator says it’s not about skipping people, but rather providing more opportunities for other eligible people.

“We’ve just taken that extra step,” La Crosse County Health Department public educator Rachel King said. “And so as our bucket of people who became eligible grew, we saw additional people who were able to administer vaccine grow. And I think that’s kind of the same concept as what’s happening tonight, is that we have additional pots of vaccine that are available. We had more people come on board who are available to give that vaccine, and then a larger group of people who are able to receive it.”

King says the people making these decisions on who gets the vaccine and when is a group effort. She adds the county is looking into how and when childcare providers will get their shots in the coming weeks.

The site ran from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

The county will run another vaccination site for educators at Onalaska High School next Friday.