Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital vaccinating teachers, school employees


RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – After a storage snafu earlier this week, Rutherford County Schools had to toss out 1,000 Moderna vaccines.

On Saturday, they were still able to vaccinate 800 of their employees thanks to Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital.

St. Thomas nurse Michelle Hawkins administered dozens of the shots to Rutherford County teachers.

“We want to be able to serve those teachers because they’re going to be serving our children. Those children are going back into homes where people may be more at-risk and so they’re just a vital part of our network to be able to take care of our community,” Hawkins said.

With the help of their local health department, another 320 employees got their vaccines at the school district’s Central Office on Saturday.

This all happened less than 48 hours after the school district was forced to throw away those 1,000 vaccines after discovering they hadn’t been stored at the proper temperature or in an approved freezer.

Director of Schools Bill Spurlock said, “We deeply regret this error and have worked throughout the day with the state and local health department to better understand the issue and to ensure this type of mistake is not repeated. We are grateful that we will still be able to offer a vaccination clinic Saturday for the employees who had signed up for an appointment.”

As more counties move towards phase 1b. vaccinating teachers, health care workers, emergency responders and those 65 and older, doctors and nurses say it’s one step closer to getting back to life as we knew it.

“I think everybody is just exhausted with the new normal and we are doing everything that we can do to get back as quickly as close to the old normal as possible,” Hawkins said.

From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.

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