Though consumers have expressed some skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine, a new report released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that school personnel have been proactive about the vaccination process.
The CDC reported that nearly 80 percent of school employees across the country, including teachers, general childcare workers, and school faculty, have gotten at least the first round of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“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 Walensky. “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.”
Making teachers a priority
While vaccines first became available to consumers in mid-December, the push to get teachers and school workers vaccinated began in earnest in early March. Under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, all teachers, childcare workers, and other school faculty members became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC surveyed school personnel about their vaccination processes and received nearly 40,000 surveys from childcare workers and 13,000 surveys from school staff. With this data, they could see just how many school employees were taking advantage of their vaccine eligibility.
By the end of March, nearly six million school personnel had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By utilizing the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, many schools were able to make the vaccine available to their staff members on school grounds. This incentive made it easier and more convenient to get vaccinated, which experts believe contributed to the large number of vaccinated school workers over the last month.
It also didn’t take long to reach these numbers, as the CDC learned that the vaccine rate shot up by 50 percent in the early weeks of March.
By getting teachers, childcare workers, and school staff vaccinated early, health experts hope that traditional, in-person learning will resume as soon as possible. Over the last year, remote learning has proven to be difficult for nearly everyone involved -- teachers, students, and parents.