Biden directs every state to vaccinate all teachers by end of March to reopen schools

Biden directs every state to vaccinate all teachers by end of March to reopen schools

Educators will be vaccinated through federal pharmacy programme

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 02 March 2021 22:20
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Joe Biden is directing all states to prioritise the vaccination of teachers, childcare workers, and school staff against Covid-19 by the end of March in order to expedite the reopening of schools.

The president announced that he wants every educator to receive their first dose by the end of the month.

“Let’s treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is,” Mr Biden said in remarks at the White House.

He also announced that with the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and its 24-hour production in collaboration with Merck, the US will have enough doses for every adult by the end of May — two months ahead of schedule.

More than 30 states have already prioritised the vaccination of educators. The president has now instructed the remaining states to follow suit.

Vaccination of teachers from pre-K through grade 12 will happen through the federal pharmacy vaccination programme and begin next week.

After his prepared remarks, the president responded to a couple of shouted questions from the press corps, including when he thought the country might be back to normal.

Mr Biden said he had been reluctant to say when he thought this might happen and urged people to stick to public health guidelines.

“I’ve been cautioned not to give an answer to that because we don’t know for sure,” the president said.

“But my hope is, by this time next year we’re going to be back to normal, and before that. My hope.”

He added that it depended on people being “smart”.

Mr Biden spoke just hours after the governors of both Texas and Mississippi announced they were lifting all restrictions on businesses opening, and at what capacity, and rescinding mask mandates.

On Monday, Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she was “deeply concerned” after the decline Covid-19 cases and deaths stalled amid new variants spreading through the US.

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