Mar 3, 2021 - Health

Biden sends teachers to front of vaccine line

Illustration of a face mask with an A plus school mark
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Biden on Wednesday used the federal government to prioritize vaccinating teachers and child care workers, an effort to get kids back in schools, WashPost reports.

What he's saying: "My challenge to all states, territories and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March," Biden said.

  • Teachers will have access to vaccines through the federal government's pharmacy program, starting next week.

State of play: Teachers have said they'd be more willing to return for in-person schooling if they first receive a vaccine.

  • More than half of the states have already put teachers in a high-priority category.

The other side: Experts generally agree that it's safe to reopen schools regardless of whether teachers have been vaccinated, as long as safety precautions are followed.

  • The move was also criticized for putting teachers who are not currently eligible for the vaccine, based on their age or health conditions, above more vulnerable people.
  • "This means taking vaccine away from higher-risk persons & communities of color to vaccine young healthy teachers. This is an ANTI-EQUITY move," tweeted Celine Gounder, a member of Biden's transition coronavirus taskforce.
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