Unions seek state approval for firefighters to vaccinate teachers

BOSTON — Teachers’ unions are meeting with state leaders Wednesday as part of an effort to create vaccine clinics just for educators, the day before 400,000 teachers and school staff across the state become eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

But the process for booking a shot is cumbersome, and that’s why unions representing teachers and firefighters are meeting with state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. The unions are proposing a plan where firefighters would administer shots to educators and staff at their schools. They are hoping their plan can get approved Wednesday, and that would allow for thousands of educators to get the vaccine before they are required to be back in the classroom.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, Beth Kontos, released a statement saying, “We have no approval as yet on our vaccine rollout plan. But we are continuing to pressure the governor’s office to approve the release of vaccines for our plan.  I certainly hope Wednesday will be the day we receive approval.”

Union leaders say teachers don’t have time during the day to scour the state’s website to try and find an appointment on the state’s website. Gov. Charlie Baker has mentioned setting aside vaccines and certain days, perhaps on weekends, to get teachers vaccinated, but the state hasn’t yet announced a plan or details on how it would work.

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