BOSTON (CBS) — As Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that he is expanding vaccine access in Massachusetts to people 65 and older as well as those with two or more comorbidities, he suggested it would be at least a month before the next group of eligible people has access to the COVID-19 vaccine. That next group of people includes Massachusetts teachers.
At present, teachers are eligible to be vaccinated in more than half of the United States. In Massachusetts, they fall under the second half of Phase 2, which has not yet begun.READ MORE: Ups And Downs: Patriots Run All Over Bills, Defense Makes The Big Plays In Monday Night Win
“It’s been disheartening and in some cases it feels like a slap in the face,” Framingham High School teacher Eugenia Doncov told WBZ. “All teachers want is to be back,“ she explained. “We are not on vacation.“
Her history students have been remote learning since March, and are slated to come back to the classroom next week.
Teachers feel they are being slighted in the vaccination process, especially as the state and federal governments encourage schools to reopen for in person learning five days a week.
In a briefing this week, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said it isn’t necessary for all teachers to be vaccinated before school can reopen. “Even though we don’t feel that every teacher needs to be vaccinated before you can open school, that doesn’t take away from the fact that we strongly support the vaccination of teachers,” he said.READ MORE: Mac Jones Threw Just Three Passes To Make Patriots History In Wild Win Over Bills
After the governor’s announcement about expanded vaccinations on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Teachers Association had a meeting with state Secretary of Health Marylou Sudders to push a plan to vaccinate teachers already established by the teachers union.
“It was a lot of talk and no action,” MTA President Merrie Najimy told WBZ. “We need action.”
Through the teachers union’s vaccination plan, teachers already in schools and high-risk communities would be vaccinated first on site. The plan would also include college professors, who do not currently fall under the same vaccination category as teachers, but rather in Phase 3 with the general public.
“We have a plan,” Najimy said. “We have the right people. We just need the governor to approve it.”
In his press briefing Wednesday, Governor Baker said expanding vaccine access to teachers is largely dependent on vaccine supply, which is still extremely limited. He predicted it would likely take a month to vaccinate the one million people who just became eligible as part of phase 2.MORE NEWS: Weekend Reservations Needed At Brookline Christmas Tree Farm Due To Demand
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment