Feb 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Union head won’t say whom teachers should get priority over for COVID vaccine

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells "Axios on HBO" that states should prioritize teachers for vaccinations as part of reopening schools for in-person learning.

Between the lines: Weingarten declined to say whom teachers should be prioritized over.

  • "If we are saying that prioritizing in-person learning is important, the teachers and the bus drivers that are working in places that are reopening should be prioritized," she said.
  • In previous statements, Weingarten said teachers should be vaccinated alongside others in the 1-B priority group.

AFT is the country's second largest teachers union, representing 1.7 million members in cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

  • Last September, Weingarten told Axios that she'd support a requirement that teachers be vaccinated before returning to classrooms.
  • She later walked that back, arguing that while she supports vaccination, she also recognizes that some teachers have been scared off by misinformation.
  • According to a recent survey, 67% of AFT teachers said they've either been vaccinated already or plan to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Sixteen percent says they either don't plan to get vaccinated or aren't yet sure.

Editor's note: This story has been updated add Weingarten's prior statements that teachers should be vaccinated in the 1-B priority group.

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