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Push to get teachers vaccinated increases with Biden plan

Teach
Posted at 4:01 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 17:01:54-04

The Biden administration is vowing to get every teacher in the country at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.

“We’ve been doing this long enough now to know what’s happening when they’re trying to learn from home. And some kids are giving a solid effort, but the truth is, it’s just not the same, especially for kids this young,” said Brian Kosch, a 4th grade teacher in New Jersey.

He returned to full-time, in-person teaching recently, even though he hasn’t been vaccinated.

“I would take it if given the opportunity,” Kosch said.

The opportunity could come soon.

“I think Joe Biden understood from the very beginning. Schools were absolutely essential for our kids and for opening the economy, that they needed to be treated like health care workers were, treated as important as those health care workers are, with respect to vaccination,” said Randi Weingarten the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

She’s working to make sure teachers are near the front of the line to get vaccinated.

“From November and December it was clear that teachers needed to be prioritized in order to have the extra layer of protection so that people would be safe,” said Weingarten.

One of the ways the Biden administration will get shots into the arms of teachers is by using the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Teachers will now be able to get their vaccination with several of the nation’s pharmacies.

“There are 9,000 pharmacies nationwide that are part of this program. We are seeing that this is a really important way your local pharmacy of getting your vaccine, and now teachers and educators are now part of that,” Weingarten said.

If you’re a teacher trying to get vaccinated, you can find a pharmacy in your area distributing vaccines by going to vaccinefinder.org.

For teachers like Brian, the vaccine just means getting his students back where they need to be -- in the classroom.

“The more I see them in person, the more clear it is how little they gain from being on the computer,” he said.

Students back in the classroom means another step towards normalcy for everyone.

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