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District nurses step up for COVID-19 staff vaccination

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
District nurses stepped up to help the Port Arthur Health Department administer doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to PNGISD staff members Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. From left: Amber Comeaux, Irene Baize, Staci Guarnere, Shannon Burnett, Lauren Ward, Sheri Fontenot, Lorin Dupuis and Allison Monk. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)


District nurses step up for staff vaccination

By Mike Tobias

Friendly faces helped greet district employees anxious to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Eight of the district's nurses from across the various campuses came together to administer a first round of the Moderna vaccination to staff members Tuesday at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.

Approximately 200 staff members joined the socially-distant line, which at times extended out the door of the facility, during a three-hour window from noon to 3 p.m. Helping to administer the vaccine doses were Amber Comeaux, Irene Baize, Staci Guarnere, Shannon Burnett, Lauren Ward, Sheri Fontenot, Lorin Dupuis and Allison Monk. 

The mass vaccination event was arranged by Superintendent Dr. Mike Gonzales and Deputy Superintendent Julie Gauthier, who were both on hand to ensure the event ran smooth for all employees. 

"Our employees are the most important resource we have," Gauthier said. "We knew right away that this was important to them. They've put themselves on the line for our students and district since we came back to school in August."

The event was hosted in conjunction with the Port Arthur Health Department, which hosted it at the civic center. 

Guarnere, lead district nurse who is based at Port Neches Elementary, helped secure the vaccine doses from the health department. It was at that point it became clear the district's nurses would be needed to help administer them in a timely manner. 

That manner, originally scheduled across two days (Monday and Tuesday), were pushed back and rescheduled three times because of the recent winter weather events in Southeast Texas.

Despite that, Guarnere was pleased that the event came together without incident.

"We've had a great response," Guarnere said. "It was a little fast and furious (because of the weather rescheduling), but we made it. Everybody has been patient, because they did have to wait a little bit, but the turnout was fabulous.

"This wouldn't have been possible without the administrators. They worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get this done and it would not have happened without their leadership."

Once staff members received their vaccination, they were sent to an adjacent room for 15 minutes in case a reaction to the dose arose.

Varsity baseball coach Scott Carter was among those who received their first dose and was thankful to the district for providing the opportunity.

"For me, getting the vaccine not only protects me, but members of my family," Carter said. "It also protects the students I come in contact with on a daily basis."

High school Spanish teacher Laura Haycock relayed a similar message after receiving her dose.

"I wanted to get this vaccine to keep myself and my family safe," Haycock said, "And because I believe in the science of vaccines. Hopefully, this will help flatten the curve."

As staff members left, they were then checked out by health department officials and made aware of the second dose timeline.

"The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is 28 days after the first," Guarnere said. "The approximate date was noted for employees on the back of their vaccination card. There might be something in the works for the district nurses to come back out and help to administer that second dose."


PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
PNGISD nurse Lauren Ward prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for administration to PNGISD staff members Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
PNGISD nurse Amber Comeaux prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for Superintendent Dr. Mike Gonzales Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
PNGISD nurse Amber Comeaux administers a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Superintendent Dr. Mike Gonzales Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD Varsity baseball coach Scott Carter signs in as Deputy Superintendent hands out COVID-19 vaccination cards to district employees Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
Varsity baseball coach Scott Carter prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccination from district nurse Amber Comeaux on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
PNGISD nurses Lorin Dupuis, left, and Staci Guarnere speak with Deputy Superintendent Julie Gauthier during the district's COVID-19 vaccination event Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Mike Tobias/PNGISD
PNGISD nurses and Port Arthur Health Department officials communicate about a round of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines about to be prepared for administration Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Mike Tobias/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Julie Gauthier/PNGISD
PNGISD maintenance personnel help shovel ice and snow from the walkway as they prepare for the arrival of staff members who signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Julie Gauthier/PNGISD)

 

PHOTO: Julie Gauthier/PNGISD
PNGISD maintenance personnel help shovel ice and snow from the walkway as they prepare for the arrival of staff members who signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur. (Julie Gauthier/PNGISD)

Mike Tobias
miketobias@pngisd.org
(409) 729-7644 Ext. 148