MAYFIELD — The health department here began vaccinating school personnel in all three school systems this week, but some opted to postpone receiving their vaccinations in favor of helping those they felt needed them most.

Some school personnel from Graves County, Mayfield Independent and Northside Baptist Christian schools deferred their vaccinations to senior residents in the community which left Graves County Health Department Director Noel Coplen “floored, but very appreciative.”

“We have a lot of very good hearted people that live in Mayfield-Graves County,” he said.

Coplen said his health department received 700 vaccinations allotted for school personnel on Tuesday and roughly half of the doses were deferred to elderly residents. He noted the vaccine supply will be used up this week.

The health department, along with others in the Purchase region, is asking for patience as staff work down their waiting lists. Graves County’s will consist of approximately 1,400 seniors after this week’s vaccinations are complete. However, Coplen noted the list numbers increase every day.

Though the state has consistently changed its plans, he said more vaccines are expected in three weeks. Residents on the waiting list will be contacted by the health department when more vaccines arrive.

According to their websites Thursday, Graves County Schools had 28 students and 12 staff who tested positive for COVID-19. Mayfield Independent had reported Monday that five of their students and 11 staff are positive for the virus.

The health department announced 148 new cases of COVID-19 for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday bringing the total seen since March 2020 to 3,176. Three new deaths were also reported, meaning 78 people in Graves County have died since as a result of the virus..

Coplen said while Graves County’s cases are “certainly not going down,” having people in the community vaccinated is a relief.

“To get vaccines out to people in our county is wonderful. We just wish we had more of it,” he said. “But it is a good feeling to know that some people are getting vaccinated against a virus that has been so detrimental to many in our community.”

He said the booster shots should arrive in the coming weeks for health care and emergency personnel that first received the vaccine in December.

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