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Vaccine side effects lead to educator staff shortage in Connecticut

Dave Pinto, an electrician with Meriden schools, is administered the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by nurse Melissa Cerasoli during a clinic at Maloney High School in Meriden, Conn., on Friday, March 19.
Dave Pinto, an electrician with Meriden schools, is administered the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by nurse Melissa Cerasoli during a clinic at Maloney High School in Meriden, Conn., on Friday, March 19.DAVE ZAJAC

MANCHESTER, Conn. — Several Connecticut school districts have been forced to close or stop in-person learning for a day, after educators attending coronavirus vaccine clinics called in sick with side effects from the shot.

Manchester schools reported a shortage of teachers and bus drivers on Monday after a vaccine clinic for educators was held there over the weekend.

“I understand the challenges this causes for parents and families and had hoped to avoid going remote for the day,” Matt Geary, the town’s school superintendent, wrote to the community Monday. “I apologize for the inconvenience.”

A similar incident caused a Colchester elementary school to close for a day last month and forced Stamford schools to delay a return to in-person learning for one day.

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In Region 13, which includes Durham and Middlefield, officials proactively scheduled a day off for Monday after a clinic was scheduled on April 3 to give educators their second vaccine dose.

“The good news is that we held one snow day in reserve for this exact scenario, so we do not need to adjust our calendar or change the graduation date,” Superintendent Doug Schuch wrote.

Southington officials made a similar decision last month, giving staff a day off the Monday after a March 14 clinic.

Typical side effects of the vaccines include pain, redness and swelling on the arm the shot was administered to and tiredness, a headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.