By Ani McHugh, NJEA Communications consultant
Moorestown Education Association President Lisa Trapani is no stranger to organizing. During her 21 years at the helm of her South Jersey local, Trapani has advocated tirelessly for her members and for Moorestown’s students and families.
But in recent weeks, Trapani’s work has centered around an immediate, pressing goal: to secure COVID-19 vaccine appointments for every MEA member who wants one.
While coronavirus vaccines are relatively new, Trapani is no stranger to organizing vaccination clinics to help Moorestown’s staff stay healthy. She has a longstanding relationship with representatives from Rite Aid, through whom she organizes annual in-district flu shot clinics.
In January, realizing that COVID-19 vaccine appointments would likely be hard to come by, Trapani reached out to her Rite Aid contacts to inquire about running on-site COVID vaccine clinics exclusively for MEA members. At that time, pharmacies were still unsure about when they would receive vaccines and how many they would get–so Rite Aid was initially unable to fulfill Trapani’s request. Near the end of February, though, a scheduling representative called Trapani with news that she had reserved 300 Johnson & Johnson vaccines–and had secured an equal number of appointments between March 9th and 19th at two Pennsauken Rite Aid stores–just for MEA members.
As educators had just become eligible to receive the vaccine, this was certainly welcome news to Trapani. “The COVID vaccine provides an additional layer of protection for school employees,” she said, noting that vaccinating school staff creates a safer environment for everyone in the buildings.
Though public health officials continue to stress that we are not yet out of the woods with regard to coronavirus infections and transmission, Moorestown Education Association members can continue to focus on meeting the needs of their students with the confidence and peace of mind that protection from the vaccine brings.