State’s largest teachers union reacts to teachers being prioritized in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Governor Lamont’s new vaccine timetable includes vaccinating everyone at once based on age. It also prioritizes teachers and school staff.

The governor’s announcement that teachers will be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution comes less than a week after the state’s largest teachers union launched an ad campaign calling for teachers to be priority.

RELATED: State releases new COVID vaccination target dates for all age groups through spring; educators getting dedicated clinics in March

“Let’s make it a priority in Connecticut and get it done,” the ad said.

This union ad features Connecticut Teachers of the Year. Six days after it was released.

“We really want to prioritize everybody that works in the schools,” said Lamont.

On Monday, Governor Ned Lamont announced a pivot away from essential workers to an age-based vaccine distribution plan. Starting with people 55 and older in March. Also starting next week: vaccine clinics specifically for Pre-K through 12 educators and staff.

“This is very innovative,” said Don Williams, Executive Director, Connecticut Education Association. “We’re doing it in a way that will provide an option for school staff to be vaccinated in their school district as well as going online.”

The plan involves vaccinating teachers, paraeducators, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, daycare providers, and administrators. Teachers’ unions applaud the move.

“When school staff are fully vaccinated – they don’t have to quarantine when they’re exposed. And that’s the number one reason why Connecticut schools have to close,” said Williams.

The new timeline moves up mass vaccinations from summer to spring.

“They’ve moved up the timetable for everyone to get vaccines,” said Williams.

Don Williams is Executive Director of Connecticut Education Association. He says districts won’t have to reinvent the wheel. They’ll be mimicking the same thing they do for annual flu clinics. The COVID-19 vaccine is welcomed after this uncertain year.

“That’s going to be good for the safety of students, school staff, and it’s going to be good for the parents who need to go to work and know their students are safe and being educated,” said Williams.

State health officials say it should take about a month to fully vaccinate all teachers and school staff across the state.

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