LANCASTER  — Antelope Valley Union High School District employees lined up at Antelope Valley Hospital’s outpatient imaging center building on Tuesday morning for the first of two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

AV Hospital, together with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, has been working directly with local school districts to provide teachers and school employees with the vaccine.

“We (AVH) want to ensure our AV teachers are protected and that the children have the opportunity to go back to in-person learning and some sort normalcy,” AV Hospital CEO Edward Mirzabegian said in a statement. “The children were our motivation to set up the clinic.” 

The goal is to help vaccinate eligible people in the community, to prevent further transmission of COVID-19, in addition to assisting in the process of getting schools to open as soon as possible.  Currently, AV Hospital is working with the AV Union High School District and Acton-Agua Dulce Unified, Gorman Joint, Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Elementary, Keppel Union, Lancaster, Westside and Eastside union school districts. Teachers and staff from these schools are advised to contact their respective administration for questions and vaccination instructions.  

The vaccinations started about 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. By 11 a.m., more than 100 employees received it. The district was alloted 650 vaccines per week; more than 1,000 employees are interested in getting the vaccine, so the vaccinations should be completed by next week.

“It’s a wonderful partnership between us and the hospital and DPH. All of our employees are super excited, all happy faces this morning so very excited to get it,” Daniel Ramos, AV Union High School District’s director of Human Resources, said.

Knight High School Para Educator Morgan Schmidt received his COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning. Registered nurse Carolina White briefed him about the vaccine before she administered it.. She gave Schmidt an “I was vaccinated at AVH” sticker, similar to the “I voted” stickers citizens get on Election Day, to wear on his hoodie.

“I think it’s an indicator things are getting back to normal,” Schmidt said. “I think once everybody gets vaccinated it might make things go a lot smoother. I’ve been taking vaccinations my whole life so why should this one be any different?” 

Registered Nurse Ashley McInnis is one of the health care professionals who administered the vaccines Tuesday morning.

“I think it’s a really good thing; I’m excited about it,” she said. I’m excited that our educators finally get to do it. I feel that it’s important that they get vaccine because they’re part of our front line. They’re a huge part of our front line, they work with our children. They work with our kids so they need to have that level of protection.” 

Sam Misso, an accountant who works in the district office, was also vaccinated.

“I wanted to bring awareness to the stigma against Asians,” said Misso, who is Asian.

She worked at Littlerock High School previously. 

“I’m on social media for the students; a lot of my students are seniors,” Misso said.

She is active on social media where she posts messages of kindness and inclusion for her students.

Misso gets the flu vaccine every year. She encouraged anyone who is considering getting the COVID-19 vaccine to get it.

Leadership from other Antelope Valley private, charter and local colleges are invited to contact ross.bauman@avhospital.org to inquire about getting their schools involved.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Feb. 19 that starting Monday, the state would begin reserving 10% of the overall supply of vaccines to be administered to teachers and other essential workers.

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