Biden tells states to prioritize vaccines for teachers

Teachers and educators can sign up for vaccinations appointments at local pharmacies, president says
By: | March 4, 2021
More than 30 states have been or are planning to prioritize teachers and other educators for vaccinations.More than 30 states have been or are planning to prioritize teachers and other educators for vaccinations.

President Joe Biden has called on states to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers, school staff and childcare workers within the next 30 days.

“Today, I am directing every state to prioritize educators for vaccination,” Biden said on Twitter. “We want every educator, school staff member, and child-care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of this month.”

The announcement comes as more than 30 states have been or are planning to prioritize educators for vaccinations.

Last week, Florida announced it would make vaccinations available to educators over the age of 50. The Biden administration’s plan would make vaccines available to educators of all ages.

More from DA: What might match Biden’s impact on education policy?

In a March 2 speech on the administration’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Biden said the initiative is the latest step in his administration’s efforts to reopen schools within the first 100 days and provided more details about his plan to prioritize vaccinations for educators.

“To help make this happen, starting next week and for a month—the month of March—we will be using our federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff and child-care workers. … Throughout March, they will be able to sign up for an appointment at a pharmacy near them.”

Biden warned that not all educators and school employees would be able to sign up for the vaccine in the first week, but he set a goal of providing every educator at least one shot by the end of the month.

Teachers’ unions welcomed the news. “Vaccinations are a key ingredient to reopening schools safely, and this is the administration taking the steps to ramp up vaccinations for educators, which is great news for everyone who wants in-school learning, ” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We look forward to bringing our public schools back to life as places where children can thrive.”

“With promises of a vaccine, we have a new opportunity to create safe and just schools for every student,” said NEA President Becky Pringle.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.

More from DA: How 5 states are reacting to Biden’s testing guidance