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Educators react to possible vaccine prioritization changes

Hoping they don't get bumped down in priority
Posted at 6:20 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 19:20:38-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many Nebraskans are asking, where is my COVID-19 vaccine? The distribution process has seen multiple delays and the state is still only in phase 1a of distribution. With new CDC recommendations coming out, the state now says they are considering rearranging prioritized groups, moving people over the age of 65 ahead of other groups.

Educators say they are tired of the delays.

Gov. Pete Ricketts says he can't confirm yet if those over the age of 65 will be moved from Phase 1c to 1b just yet. The move has the potential to move other groups, like teachers, further behind in priority.

"I will say stay tuned. You will see that we will be making some changes with regard to 65 years and older," Ricketts said Tuesday.

However, this possibility has caused unease for local teacher unions, who have been anxiously waiting for a vaccine.

"The HHS department and the governor need to get it together and help teachers and staff get vaccinated as soon as humanly possible," Nebraska State Education Association president Jenni Benson said.

Benson says teachers can not afford to be bumped down in priority, especially now that more school districts are opening back up to full capacity. Millard Public Schools has been at full capacity for months.

"You've had so many different groups talk about the importance of keeping schools open. I just feel that it's critical that we then honor that insistence and honor the importance of schools being open by quickly vaccinating the people working in those schools. So that way they have peace of mind that they're safe and secure going to do their job every day," Millard Education Association president Tim Royers said.

Both teacher unions say they are not opposing the 65 and older age group to be vaccinated first. They say they want the state to move a lot quicker in distributions so all groups can be vaccinated as soon as possible.