Nearly 8 in 10 teachers, school staff and child-care workers have received at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, federal officials said, after a push to make the vaccine available to them.
The Biden administration made the vaccine available directly to teachers and school staff through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, where people can book appointments directly with certain pharmacies. It also directed states to prioritize these workers in their state programs and some did.
The effort “has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday.
The CDC said Tuesday that more than 2 million teachers, school staff and child-care workers were vaccinated through the pharmacy program in March and another 5 to 6 million were vaccinated through state programs through the end of March.
Separately, a survey released Tuesday by the American Federation of Teachers of its members also found about 8 in 10 had been vaccinated already. Among those who have not, about half said they do not want the vaccine. Among the most hesitant were Black teachers under age 50 and Republicans.
The AFT poll also found 68 percent of working teachers were going to jobs outside of the home, with 27 percent working from home because of the pandemic.
Biden has said he hopes to have a majority of K-8 schools open for full-time in-person learning by his 100th day in office at the end of April. On Wednesday the Education Department released new data from its monthly survey of schools that showed little change from January to February, with the country nearing but not yet at Biden’s goal.
The survey found 47 percent of schools serving fourth-graders and 46 percent serving eighth-graders were open for full-time in-person classes. All told, about 8 in 10 of all schools were at least partly open, up a tick from 77 percent in January.
Attendance rates for remote and hybrid programs were not much different from in-person setting, all hovering around 90 percent, the survey found.