Savannah-Chatham County school staff apparently eager to get COVID vaccine

Barbara Augsdorfer Savannah Morning News

Numbers related to COVID are going up. But these are the good numbers — vaccines, Chatham County Department of Public Health and Savannah-Chatham County Public School officials are giving it the old school try to get vaccinations into the arms of as many staff as possible as soon as possible.

On Monday, staff from Coastal Health Partners volunteered to administer vaccines to 45 staff of Savannah Classical Academy. According to Barry Lollis, SCA’s executive director, Monday’s event will result in 82% of the staff being vaccinated. “Within the next two weeks, more than 90% of the staff will be vaccinated,” Lollis said.

Savannah Classical Academy Executive Director Barry Lollis joins his fellow faculty and staff members as they prepare to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning.

In addition to being the first vaccination event for a majority of SCCPSS staff, it was also the first use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Chatham County.

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“Dr. [Jason] Conley at Village Walk Pharmacy did all the legwork for the state program, the federal program, and all the different suppliers. He was already geared up, ready to go for receiving [the vaccines],” explained Scott Pierce of Savannah-based Coastal Health Partners. “That’s when he called us because we know him personally. He said, ‘You guys have nurses and you guys have logistical staff that I need help setting this clinic up.’ So it’s been a great partnership.”

The partnership between Coastal Health Partners and Conley’s Village Walk and Lo Cost pharmacies has resulted in more than 7,000 vaccines given during the first phase. Most of the vaccines have been the two-dose Moderna vaccine, in addition to Pfizer. “Jason (Dr. Conley) signed up for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and he got 100 doses of it last Friday,” Pierce added.

Jason Conley, a pharmacist at Village Walk Pharmacy, administers the Johnson and Johnson single dose COVID-19 vaccine to kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Swords on Monday morning at Savannah Classical Academy.

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This was just the beginning of school staff vaccinations.

On Tuesday, SCCPSS staff have two locations offering vaccines. District nurses will be at Garrison School for the Performing Arts and Early Learning Center at Henderson E. Formey School in four-hour events beginning at 3:30 p.m.

“All we’re doing is providing the vaccine. Tomorrow’s event will not be J&J. It will be the Moderna vaccine,” Pierce said. “We’ve got a balance between tomorrow’s teachers or teachers that wanted to get it as quickly as they could. And then the event on Saturday, which we’ll be using all of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the teachers who are saying, ‘Hey, I just want the one shot.’ So it’s a good option for both people.”

Pierce added that the school district sent an email to staff last week for the Tuesday vaccinationevents. All 500 appointments were taken within two hours.

Barbara Augsdorfer is the education reporter for the Savannah Morning News. Reach her at or on Twitter @Babs7983.