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'Teachers must be prioritized to receive the vaccine': ISTA releases statement on vaccine rollout plan

The statement shared the disappointment in the Indiana State Department of Health's decision to not include teachers as next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Desks in a classroom.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Teachers Association has released a statement, expressing its disappointment in the Indiana State Department of Health's decision to not include teachers as next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.

"For months, teachers have put their lives at risk to ensure Hoosier children receive a quality education during the pandemic – all while being told they would be prioritized when the moment came for a vaccine," said IST President Keith Gambill.

Each state has created its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they can receive vaccines.

In Indiana, the ISDH has made the vaccine available to health care workers, people who have exposure to COVID-19 infectious material, first responders (fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, reservists and volunteers) and people 80 and older.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided recommendations on who should receive the vaccine first. 

Phase 1 of the CDC's vaccine rollout plan includes health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

In Phase 2, the CDC recommends vaccinations for frontline essential workers and people who are 75 and older. The CDC defines frontline essential workers as firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers).

The ISDH opened vaccine appointments to Hoosiers 80 and older on Friday, Jan. 8. Within weeks, public health officials expect to include Hoosiers 70 and older and then those who are 60 and older.

RELATED: Vaccine registration opened to Hoosiers 80+, demand is creating long wait times

"Teachers must be prioritized to receive the vaccine. Too many schools are closed. Too many students are falling behind. We need teachers vaccinated and safely teaching in person to best serve students and to move forward with restoring our state’s economy," Gambill said. "We are calling on the governor to follow CDC guidance and prioritize teachers in the state’s vaccine plan. And, communicate when the vaccine will be available to teachers. Educators, parents, and students deserve to know when this will occur."

Click here to read ISTA's full statement.

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