Hudson school employees 'grateful' to receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

More than 1,000 vaccinated in middle school gymnasium

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Peggie DeMarco, executive assistant for pupil services for the Hudson City School District, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hudson Middle School on Friday, Feb. 12. Giving the vaccine is Molly Daley, a registered pharmacist with Discount Drug Mart and a 2002 Hudson High School graduate.

HUDSON —  "No pain, all gain."

That's how Jennie McGahee described her feelings after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Hudson Middle School gymnasium Friday, Feb. 12. The educational aide at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School was one of about 1,300 people — including 655 city school district employees — who received their initial coronavirus vaccine. 

"I could not be more excited and grateful," said McGahee. "There's family that we haven't seen, so this is just another step toward whatever normalcy will be like."

Superintendent Phil Herman said 91% of district employees said they wanted to receive the vaccine. In addition to school district employees, there were workers from  Hudson Montessori, Seton Catholic School and Western Reserve Academy who also received their first dose at Hudson Middle School. Discount Drug Mart pharmacists administered the Pfizer vaccine to school employees; every school district employee who requested a vaccination received one on Friday, according to district spokesperson Sheryl Sheatzley.

Jennie McGahee, educational aide at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School, receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Marian Cordell, a registered pharmacist with Discount Drug Mart, at Hudson Middle School Friday, Feb. 12.

One of the Discount Drug Mart pharmacists who administered vaccines was Molly Daley, a 2002 Hudson High School graduate.

"It feels great to help the community I grew up in," said Daley.

Daley administered the vaccine to Ben Lehman, an intervention specialist at the high school.

"It feels great," said Lehman after spending the required 15 minutes in the observation area. "I've been anxiously awaiting getting the shot."

Allison Sutton, a fourth-grade teacher at East Woods Elementary School, said she felt receiving the vaccine was "a really good step toward a normal future."

Jackie Hannan, an English teacher at the high school, added she felt "extremely lucky" to get her first dose.

"Hopefully it's a step in the right direction," said Hannan. 

Christina Lowell, a fourth- and fifth-grade orchestra teacher at East Woods Intermediate School, said, "I've been looking forward to this day for a very long time."

Lowell noted she has been teaching in-person classes since August and added she works with about 75 students each day.

"Being able to get this vaccine is a wonderful opportunity and I'm really grateful," said Lowell. "It will allow me to feel safe doing my job and my priority is keeping my students safe and keeping my own family safe."

Peggie DeMarco, executive assistant for pupil services at Hudson City School District, receives a bandage from Molly Daley, a registered pharmacist with Discount Drug Mart. Daley had just given DeMarco the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hudson Middle School Friday, Feb. 12. Daley is a 2002 graduate of Hudson High School.

Peggie DeMarco, executive assistant for pupil services, said she felt "relieved" to receive the vaccine and, like others who spoke to the Hub-Times, noted the shot itself was painless.

"You could barely feel the prick," said DeMarco.

Noting she is immunosuppressed, DeMarco said it was "critical" for her to receive the vaccination. She added she's been "very careful" and has "stayed close to home since last March."

Lisa Farmer, a Kindergarten teacher at Evamere Elementary School, said it felt "excellent" to get the first dose and added she thought the process was "very efficient."

Students did not have class on Friday, Feb. 12. The day had already been scheduled as a professional development day for employees, Sheatzley said.

The tentative date for district employees to receive their second dose is March 6. 

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.