Many teachers want COVID-19 vaccine before returning to classroom

Vaccine

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – With New Mexico schools allowed to reopen in less than two weeks, will teachers be moved up on the vaccination list? Right now the New Mexico Department of Health says they have no plans to expedite the process for teachers, unless they fall into the current vaccination category of 75 and older, or have pre-existing health conditions.

“So just a reminder that most of us are in more than one group, some of us are in many groups and everyone has permission and is encouraged to move to the highest priority group they can,” said Dr. David Scrase, during a news conference this week.

The NMPED says there are more than 17,000 teachers in New Mexico. The NMPED has submitted a list of teachers that fall in the 75 or older category to the state and say they will be prioritized. The state also says it will take several months to vaccinate the currently eligible groups, then they will move on to educators and other frontline workers.

Ellen Bernstein, The President of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, says an overwhelming number of teachers she’s spoken to don’t want to return to the classroom until they’re vaccinated. “We got flooded with emails, and phone calls asking what about vaccines, we want to get vaccinated. I think all of the educators are very anxious for their turn in the vaccination line. I know our state’s working on it, but it’s not ready yet,” said Bernstein.

The NMPED believes it would take the state about one week to vaccinate all 17,000 teachers if the vaccines were dedicated 100% to teachers. Right now the state says they’re vaccinating an average of 7,000 people a day.

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