You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

All Teachers Now Eligible For Vaccines In Washington, Inslee Says

Patch logo Patch 3/3/2021 Lucas Combos
a group of people sitting at a table in a room: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks with special ed Pre-K teacher Michelle Ling in her classroom at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. © Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks with special ed Pre-K teacher Michelle Ling in her classroom at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

OLYMPIA, WA — All Washington teachers are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, following a new directive from President Joe Biden, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday. In a televised address, President Biden promised enough vaccines for all adults by the end of May and pushed states to prioritize teachers for vaccines sooner than later.

"Like President Biden, I am grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of educators every day, and especially during this pandemic," Inslee said. "The president has directed us to add PreK-12 educators, school staff and licensed childcare workers to our current vaccine prioritization. This directive will be carried out through existing providers and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program."

Previously, Washington's vaccine roadmap included eligibility for educators in high-risk groups in the second tier of Phase 1B, expected to begin in the spring. Wider access for all teachers and school staffers was further down the list. Teachers' unions, state lawmakers and some district leaders had pushed the state to include teachers more broadly in earlier phases, especially as more schools are encouraged to resume in-person instruction.

In his speech Tuesday, Biden urged states to get at least one dose to all educators by the end of the month to help facilitate safe school reopenings. The Associated Press reports Washington was among approximately 20 states not currently prioritizing shots for teachers.

Teachers will be eligible to get vaccines through the federal pharmacy program, but Inslee said Tuesday all educators and licensed childcare workers could seek appointments with any provider right away.

"The good news it that schools will be able to open and we are pleased that teachers will be back in the classroom very soon," Inslee said. "This should give educators more confidence to return to in-person learning and that it can be done with the safety protocols that are being used by 1,400 other schools in our state right now."

The governor said additional changes to vaccine prioritization will be announced soon, including more access for essential workers in congregate settings, farmworkers, bus drivers, corrections workers and others.

"We will continue our progress in getting every Washingtonian vaccinated," Inslee said. "I am grateful for the partnership of the federal government and their efforts to help move educators up in the prioritization."

AdChoices

More from Patch

AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon