Teachers call vaccine eligibility a ‘victory’

WATERTOWN, Mass. — After months of pushing to get educators prioritized and following pressure from the Biden administration and CVS Pharmacy, Gov. Charlie Baker added educators to the list of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting on March 11, but noted that the supply is still low.

Mindi Greenberg teaches Spanish at Marblehead High School and called the news ‘very exciting.’

With the excitement comes anxiety about registering for vaccines and how quickly traditional learning may return.

“I worry that the schools will say now teachers can get vaccinated so let’s get the schools backfilled with crowded classrooms,” Greenberg added.

She said social distance is also a significant concern at her school and does not believe if all students are brought back that even three feet of distance could be kept. Presently, the school is hybrid, she said.

The state’s website has been the source of great frustration from viewers who have told Boston 25 News of problems navigating the site and securing appointments given the competition.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association celebrated the prioritization of teachers calling it a ‘victory.’

“This gives educators an added layer or protection which is what they deserve,” said Merrie Najimy, MTA president.

MTA is also looking to have the state adopt a plan it developed with nurses and first responders that would skip the state’s public vaccination sites and allow teachers to register elsewhere and be vaccinated at high need schools in different regions of the state.

The vaccine will be made available to support staff, custodians, lunchroom employees, among others, according to a spokesperson for the state’s COVID-19 Command Center. There are 400,000 educators who comprise K-12 educators who will soon become an eligible group, according to a news release from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Some parents tell Boston 25 News they are frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to reopen schools after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said teachers should be prioritized but it is not necessary to reopen schools nationwide.

“I’m hoping that this is something that happens as quickly as possible,” said Keri Rodrigues, a Somerville mother, and founder of Massachusetts Parents United.

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