LaFollette pharmacy staff drives to Campbell County Schools to administer COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WATE)– A local pharmacy decided to help the Campbell County School District in a big way so teachers could get vaccinated with ease.

Rissa Pryse has owned Terry’s Pharmacy since 1977.

She often brought her kids to work, and years later is now working near them again.

Her daughter and son-in-law help run the business, and together, with the help of another pharmacist, helped make a plan to vaccinate the educators in their county.

“Our goal is to get all the teachers and educational workers, bus drivers, teachers aids, anybody that has anything to deal with the education system, to get their vaccination,” Pryse said.

They did so in a way that teachers, students and staff didn’t have to change their schedule, except for the 20 minutes they needed the shot.

“If they get out of school at 3:30, there’s only so many appointments you could get at that stage of the game. And some of them would have to be missing school,” Pryse said.

Pryse said it was important that teachers or students didn’t miss school or go to distance learning to get inoculated.

So on Monday and Tuesday, they plan to drive to every school in the county to provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“We set up how three different groups of the pharmacists could go around to different schools and kind of map quested everything and figured how that could come together to get it done for the teachers so that they wouldn’t close the school and get it done in a timely manner,” Pryse said.

That includes driving to schools in Jellico.

Pryse said the local health department was doing a good job giving out vaccines, but she felt teachers shouldn’t wait.

On top of that, she knew it would be difficult to make an appointment around their schedule.

“If they get out of school at 3:30, there’s only so many appointments you could get at that stage of the game. And some of them would have to be missing school,” Pryse said.

Ryan Browning, Assistant Principal of Campbell County High, said he was grateful Terry’s Pharmacy came to them for the vaccinations.

They already had some teachers miss school to get their shot.

Before the vaccine was available to teachers, the main reason schools had to switch to distance learning was because there was a lack of teachers and substitutes, due to contract tracing.

Browning himself had COVID-19 back in August, and had he and his coworkers not practiced social distancing or wore masks, more of them would have had to stay home.

“It’s a huge disservice when we have to go home. We’ve got so many kids up here, you know, they need school, they need, just beyond the education, they need the interaction, they need the food,” Browning said.

Browning said he doesn’t know where he would go to get the vaccine if Terry’s Pharmacy didn’t set up shop at the high school. The mere convenience was appreciated.

“We don’t miss them You have a regular school day, you make phone calls, you talk to students, you get this done, you get that done. And then you come in here 15 minutes and you’re right back to doing your job. So it’s a great service,” Browning said.

Browning was excited that teachers and staff could easily get vaccinated. That meant the sooner they could go back to normal.

“I hopes this gives the opportunity for teachers to relax a little bit and get back into that normal sense,” Browning said.

He said getting the vaccine also helps him make sure he’s keeping others safe from the coronavirus.

That is Pryse’s ultimate goal: to create heard immunity in the Campbell County area.

Terry’s Pharmacy started offering the vaccine as soon as it could.

While pharmacists were out at schools vaccinating staff, the online portal to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment with Terry’s Pharmacy was closed.

Pryse said she wanted to make sure she didn’t overbook the number of doses she actually had on hand.

Come Wednesday, the appointment portal will be back open to the general public.

Pryse wanted to assure the community Terry’s Pharmacy would receive more doses.

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