ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Governor Brian Kemp announced Georgia will expand the current 1A+ vaccination criteria effective March 8.

The current phase includes health care workers, long term care staff and residents, first responders and individuals ages 65 and older. It now also includes:

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  • Teachers and school staff members
  • Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers
  • Parents with children who have complex medical conditions

“Our public health districts have been actively engaged with the superintendents of schools to ensure that there’s a plan,” said Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey.

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The announcement comes as many teachers have protested in-person classes and called for an expanded vaccine criteria. A state education survey indicates less than 50% of teachers who were surveyed said they would get vaccinated. Kemp said he’s hoping more will consider as the vaccine roll-out continues.

Early care and learning officials say it will benefit working parents who rely on child care. “Child care has really stepped up to the plate during this time, and we’re just so thankful that these teachers are included in this phase of vaccines,” said Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Amy Jacobs.

“We must have every student back in the classroom, five days a week, statewide,” said Kemp. “Virtual schooling is leaving too many children behind and parents are literally at wits end.” He says it’s up to local officials to decide how the vaccine is administered and when all students can ultimately return to classrooms.

“We will continue to see more demand than we have supply,” said Kemp, reminding the public that scheduling appointments for the vaccine at this time could pose a challenge. Officials are still urging people to pre-register for the vaccine as the state prepares for more supply.

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Plans are underway to expand the vaccine criteria to more high risk individuals by the end of March.