When will Alabama teachers receive COVID vaccine?

Updated 11:22 AM; Today 10:58 AM

FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker receives a second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot.AP

By Leada Gore | lgore@al.com

Alabama teachers will likely receive the COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming months, officials said.

Teachers, both public and private, education staff and childcare workers are in the 1B group, putting them just behind frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Teachers fall into the category with people 75 and older; people who live in group settings, including homeless shelters, group homes, prison or jails; and first responders, including firefighters and law enforcement.

Also in the category with teachers are corrections officers; food and agriculture workers; U.S. Postal workers; and manufacturing, grocery store and public transit workers.

You can see the plan here.

Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey told AL.com that educator vaccinations could begin as early as January though February is a more “realistic target.” The state has been slow in its rollout of vaccinations, with about 20% of its allotment administered by the end of last week.

The logistics of how teachers would receive the vaccine have not been determined and the Alabama Department of Public Health has not announced timelines on when it will move from one phase to another.

In a statement, ADPH said as of Jan. 4 it has administered 42,810 vaccine doses out of its initial allotment of 226,250. Initially there were only 15 entities able to offer vaccinations due to the ultra cold storage required by the Pfizer vaccine. County health departments are now on board as vaccinators and ADPH said it expects numbers to increase in the coming weeks.

Some counties are moving ahead with teacher vaccinations now. Etowah County announced this week it was moving forward with Phase 1b, which includes teacher vaccinations. Initially, the vaccinations are being offered educators who are higher risk due to age or pre-existing conditions.

“For teachers, what we’re asking right now, because we have such a drastically low amount of vaccine, is school nurses, and teachers, or support staff who have a comorbidity or weakened immune system (get vaccinated Thursday,) and then within three to four weeks, we can complete the rest of the teachers,” Etowah County Emergency Management Agency Director Deborah Gaither said.