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Local educators amongst hundreds others getting vaccinated at Indio Fairgrounds


Sunday was the first day the Indio Fairgrounds had a walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic for people in phase 1A (all tiers) and phase 1B tier 1 by appointment only.

Hundreds of people with appointments formed a line around the Fullenwider Auditorium on the fairgrounds.

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Amongst mostly healthcare workers and people 65 and older were only a few local educators in line waiting to get vaccinated.

News Channel 3 spoke with some of them.

Della Johnson spent 18 years as a local teacher in the valley. Now she serves as a substitute in the Desert Sands Unified School District.

"I have not been substituting since March," Johnson said. "I substituted the day before they closed schools and I have not substituted since just because it’s so difficult for substitutes the curriculum online," she added.

She said she hopes teachers get vaccinated to help speed up the process of returning to the classroom.

"It’s just difficult to get an appointment," Johnson said. "I luckily got online at a good time," she said.

Another teacher we spoke with, Yolanda Bender teaches hospitality management at College of the Desert. She said she was excited to be getting the vaccine.

"My classes don’t have labs but a lot of my students are still impacted because a lot of my students are in culinary and they’re not able to be on campus so I think this is really going to help our students and even though we don’t do hybrid, I see it in my students, they are struggling," Bender said. "They want that interaction and so do I so I can’t tell you how excited I am," she said.

Bender believes that even though some teachers are still not teaching students in person right now, they should still get vaccinated.

"You’ve got to let the immunity build up and the sooner we get it the younger kids can get it so everyone can be on board and be ready for the fall," she said.

We asked her if she thinks schools will return to in-person or hybrid learning this school year.

"I don’t see it happening in the spring realistically but at least we will all be ready for the fall and I can’t wait," Bender said.

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There were 700 appointments for vaccinations at the Indio Fairgrounds on Sunday. All appointments were filled and no walk-ups were accepted.

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates.

Download the News Channel 3 app on the Apple Store or Google Play for breaking news alerts with the latest local coronavirus news, including vaccine updates, news reopenings and closings, new case data, live news conferences, and more.

Visit for when more appointments and locations become available.

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Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.


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