This is a huge step toward safely keeping schools open for in-person learning.
Almost 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine by the end of March, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a huge step toward reopening schools and keeping schools open safely.
Over 2 million were vaccinated through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in March, and between 5 and 6 million teachers have been vaccinated through state programs put in place specifically for educators and school staff.
The Biden Administration gave priority access to vaccines for teachers and school staff in order to "pave the way" for a return to in-person education, according to Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the CDC.
"Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky in a statement. "CDC will build on the success of this program and work with our partners to continue expanding our vaccination efforts, as we work to ensure confidence in COVID-19 vaccines."
When he took office in January, President Biden made it clear he intended to prioritize teachers in the vaccine rollout. Each state has its own rollout program, however, and less than half of the states were including teachers in their earliest rollout phases.
According to the latest CDC data, almost 80 percent of pre-K through 12 teachers, school staff, and childcare worke… https://t.co/cL17U4vOCP— President Biden (@President Biden)1617752880.0
“According to the latest CDC data, almost 80 percent of pre-K through 12 teachers, school staff, and childcare workers received at least one shot by the end of March," President Biden tweeted. "That is great progress in protecting our educators—our essential workers."
President Biden acknowledged the milestone in vaccinations earlier this week when he moved the deadline to April 19 for states to open up vaccine eligibility to all adults. The previous timeline was May 1.
Parents across the country have been wondering when and if schools will reopen for full in-person learning this school year. Most schools have been offering a hybrid model of in-person instruction as well as distance learning options for students who prefer to stay home during the pandemic. With so many teachers, school employees, and childcare workers getting vaccinated this spring, the back-to-school season later this fall could be far more promising with in-person learning than last year.
As of this week, over 66 million Americans are considered to be fully vaccinated, which means they are at least two weeks past receiving their last dose. Despite those inspiring numbers, President Biden reiterated that we're not out of the woods yet when it comes to the pandemic, and reminded everyone to stay diligent about mask-wearing and social distancing protocol when out in public.
"The virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight think we are at the finish line already," Biden said. "Let me be deadly earnest with you, we aren't finished."
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