Rochester teachers association ready to start vaccinations


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —Vaccine distribution is moving into Phase 1B starting next week, and as part of this group teachers across our area are now eligible to get the vaccine. 

3.2 million new Yorkers in Phase 1B are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. This as Governor Cuomo warns we need to ramp of vaccinations efforts in order to reach herd immunity, announcing hundreds of additional vaccination site across the site to handle the new group.

This includes 3,300 teachers represented by the Rochester teachers association who can now start to sign up for a vaccine. Many of which are excited about the move they believe will keep them safe as they head back into classrooms over the coming months.

“I’m glad that the governor agrees that teachers should be among the first to get vaccinated, after the medical staff,”said Adam Urbanski, President Rochester teachers association.

Education staff, along with First responders, Public transit workers, and Public safety workers are part of group 1-B now eligible for the covid-19 vaccine. The group also includes nearly 1.4 million people aged 75 and up.

Governor Cuomo is asking union groups — like police, firefighter, and teachers unions — to organize their own administration process for the vaccine, if possible.

“To the extent we can get those public employee groups to manage their own vaccine allows us to focus on the 1.4 million 75 year-olds and again, that’s by far the largest group and those are people who desperately need it,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The governor says the biggest challenges are supply and distribution and while hospitals have increased vaccinations, it is still not enough. In response that state is adding hundreds of new distributions networks, working with private practices and pharmacies.

The Rochester teachers association can start registering teachers on Monday.

Urbanski hopes to prioritize teachers; saying those teachers already in school, such as special education teachers, should be first, then the elementary teachers scheduled to return in February, followed the next round of teachers to return to the building. He warns the process could take months.

“And then we will have to determine how this will be administered to teachers and what order and it may take several months before it can be administered to all the teachers,” said Urbanski. “From what we’re hearing, the overwhelming majority of teachers can’t wait to be vaccinated, they want to be vaccinated.”

Urbanski called the move to phase 1B smart as he believes vaccinating teachers will keep schools open and students safe. 

At the current vaccination rate, it will take us 14 weeks to complete Phase 1A and 1B according to the Governor, that means early April. 

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