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Grayson County Public Schools close as staff recovers from vaccine side effects

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 6:25 PM EST
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GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Grayson County Public Schools closed Monday because several of its employees were still recovering from their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials say having symptoms after the second dose is common.

“I was sick for about 8 or 10 hours; I was very fortunate, but also that I’ve got two board members in their late 60s early 70s, and they had nothing,” said Kelly Wilmore, the Grayson County Public Schools superintendent.

But health officials say don’t be discouraged by the vaccine side effects.

“Side effects from either the first or the second dose include local pain at the side of the injection, muscle aches, upset GI and sometimes headache. Those are the most common side effects from that Pfizer and the Moderna,” said Dr. Paul Skolnik, the Chair of Medicine at Carilion Clinic.

Dr. Skolnik says the symptoms are a sign that the body is building immunity.

“They occur in less than half of people who get the vaccines. They are more common with the second dose than the first, but still even with a second, it was there occurring in less than half of the people to get the vaccinations, and most of the side effects are mild or moderate,“ said Skolnik.

Skolnik says many folks will be fine and can go to work the next day, but an employer can give time off just in case.

“Many workplaces will give vaccinations, especially the second dose, which it’s a little more common to have side effects. At a time when the person is receiving, the vaccine can have 24 hours or so to recuperate if they do happen to develop side effects, “said Skolnik.

Health experts say the aches and pains should go away in a few days.

“Do not pre-medicate with aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, because that might block the effect of the vaccination in the body’s response to the vaccine. However, if you do develop side effects, it’s fine to take any of those things to treat those symptoms once they occur,“ said Skolnik.

Willmore says the symptoms his employees are facing have been manageable and they hope to return to normal soon

“Hey man, we’ve been here since day one; we‘re still rolling. You know we’re... the blue devil nation is tough, man. We are tough,” said Wilmore.

The superintendent says they hope to have everyone back to learning Tuesday

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