Thousands of teachers across the US get Covid vaccination

Thousands of teachers across the US get Covid vaccination as health chiefs prioritise them after care homes and health workers so schools can reopen

  • Teachers began receiving jabs in New York this month in bid to re-open schools
  • Study finds 34 out 50 states had moved teachers towards the front of the queue
  • One high school history teacher said she cried when she made her appointment

Thousands of teachers in the US have already been vaccinated against Covid after they were prioritised so that schools can reopen.

Federal health chiefs recommended that the country’s 3.3 million teachers should be inoculated after care home residents and health care workers in the queue but in the same group as the over-75s.

Teachers began receiving jabs in New York earlier this month and more than 5,000 have received a first dose of vaccine.

Teachers began receiving jabs in New York earlier this month and more than 5,000 have received a first dose of vaccine. Teacher Lisa Egan claps after she receives the Moderna coronavirus vaccine jab in the city

The plan was agreed last month by the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practises, their version of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. 

‘I cried when I made the appointment,’ said Sari Rosenberg, a high school history teacher in Manhattan. ‘It’s the first step to getting back and seeing family and teaching my students in a classroom.’

Rebecca Crawford, 39, another New York high school teacher, received her first vaccine dose at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn.

‘For so long there’s nothing that felt concrete that I could do to get to see my students,’ she said. 

While individual states have the authority to decide who should be prioritised for Covid jabs, a study by researchers at the John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore found that 34 out 50 had moved teachers towards the front of the queue.

While individual states have the authority to decide who should be prioritised for Covid jabs, a study by researchers at the John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore found that 34 out 50 had moved teachers towards the front of the queue. A teacher is seen registering for the jab in New York

Teachers in Arizona have since January been able to receive jabs at the stadium used by the Arizona Cardinals American football team, while the vaccination of Oregon’s teachers began last Monday. Vaccinations of California teachers could start next month.

Meanwhile, a range of approaches to school closures have been adopted across Europe. Schools in France that returned from the Christmas break on January 4 remain open, although all pupils have to wear masks on the school premises and in class.

The Italian government has also been determined to keep infant and primary schools open throughout the pandemic, providing millions of surgical masks for children old enough to wear them.

Schools remain closed in Denmark, although major changes were made last year to prevent classroom transmission of the virus. 

Extra teachers were recruited and museums and theatres were converted into classrooms, allowing class sizes to drop to about ten or 12 pupils.

Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis academy trust, a network of 53 UK state schools, believes schools here should take similar innovative steps to create more space for pupils, including using marquees as temporary classrooms.

‘You need the vaccine but you also need more space if you are going to get all kids back,’ he said.

‘Marquees in playgrounds are fantastic – you can take the sides off, it gives you the cover in case it rains… you get fresh air and you get more space.’

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