Rift between Gov. Baker, teacher unions deepens on vaccines

BOSTON — There’s a war of words between the Massachusetts Teachers Union and Gov. Charlie Baker over COVID-19 vaccinations.

“They were looking for their own vaccine and to not participate in the process that everybody else participates in,” said Baker.

That’s a charge the Massachusetts Teachers Association denies.

“The governor’s statement today is an example of him reaching a new height of dishonesty and irresponsibility,” said Merrie Najimy, president of the MTA.

Najimy said all teachers want is to administer their own shots at their own local sites and not go to four teacher-only days set up at mass vaccination sites around Massachusetts.

“We have always been advocating for on-site (vaccinations) because they’re the most efficient, effective and cause least disruption to students’ days,” said Najimy.

But Baker said that’s not an effective way to vaccinate the most people.

“The two fundamental objectives with respect to vaccination priority here in Massachusetts should be the preservation of life and the preservation of the health care system that preserves life,” Baker said.

Now, teachers are also asking to delay the full-time re-opening of schools because all teachers won’t be vaccinated when the state wants schools to re-open fully on April 5.

“We are now calling on Commisioner Riley to delay this arbitrary April 5th start time,” said Najimy.

Baker said right now the state gets 150,000 doses a week from the federal government and he is sticking to his plan, saying mass vaccination sites are the priority with the short supply of doses.

“Why? Because it’s effective, it’s efficient and it gets lots of shots in people’s arms in a short period of time,” said Baker.

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