PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – We are hearing from the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association after Governor Ron DeSantis announced teachers will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine soon.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said once the new federally funded COVID-19 sites start on March 3, vaccines will be made available for teachers and police officers.READ MORE: Southeastern U.S.: A Rainy Week Ahead
At the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, the director says vaccines should have been made available to teachers much sooner, but several months later, she says she’s glad to hear the state is starting to focus on the education system.
Director of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, Nancy Velardi, says, “I don’t believe that timeline is correct. I do believe as soon as the vaccine was available in our area, teachers should have been prioritized.”
Velardi, says teachers across the county have been wanting to get vaccinated for months.
“They are alone in the profession in which you must remain enclosed in a small space with 20 to 30 other humans of varying ages and you cannot leave that space,” said Velardi.
The Pinellas County Schools COVID-19 website states about 31 employees have tested positive for Coronavirus since Monday and Velardi says she receives hundreds of emails a week from teachers with virus-related concerns.
“Almost always, every single one of them will include the vaccine. They will usually be saying things like, ‘until we can be vaccinated, I would like to have a better mask,” said Velardi.READ MORE: Lifeline Animal Project Stresses Urgent Need For Dog Foster Homes In Metro Atlanta
Last week Governor DeSantis announced the federal government is sponsoring four new vaccine sites in Florida, and now vaccinations for teachers could be right around the corner.
“The federal supported sites, as long as it works out, to where the doses will be allowed for this, we want this to be open to not only seniors but sworn law enforcement and classroom teachers,” said DeSantis.
He says with these extra vaccines, teachers and law enforcement 50 and older will be the first to get them, an age limit Velardi doesn’t fully agree with.
“People who have health risks, and are more vulnerable to this virus should be prioritized,” said Velardi.
Either way, Velardi says the governor’s announcement is a step in the right direction.
“I’m happy when we can just grow the number of teachers who can have access to the vaccine,” said Velardi.MORE NEWS: Florida Breaks COVID-19 Case And Hospitalization Records
CW44 News At 10 did reach out to the governor’s office to find out more information on the vaccine availability for teachers and law enforcement and we are waiting to hear back.