Alabama teachers frustrated, anxious over COVID-19 vaccine

by Rachael Wilkerson | WPMIWednesday, January 20th 2021AAAlabama teachers frustrated, anxious over COVID-19 vaccine (WPMI)

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MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) — Some teachers are frustrated. They are ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but they’ve been put on hold as resources are stretched thin.

The organization representing school employees, Alabama Education Association, is receiving complaints as well.

School employees are wondering when it will be their turn to get the vaccine, especially since they are teaching in school learning.

“We are hearing frustration from educators, support staff, and teachers who are concerned about their own safety when they can get the vaccine but also concerned about students and how can we do this important job safely,” said Jesse McDaniel.

Local teachers and staff members say they are ready for a shot in the arm, anxious for COVID-19 protection.

“Let’s face it they are on the front lines just like folks who work in health care or in our police or fire industries,” McDaniel.

AEA rep Jesse McDaniel says some health care employees like school nurses have started to receive the vaccine but they want all school employees to be eligible for the vaccination as soon as possible.

“Our bus drivers, teachers, administrators, all of these folks who go to work in these public schools put their life on the line every day for our students, and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to make them as safe as possible to do their job,” said McDaniel.

Mobile County Superintendent Chresal Threadgill has expressed his support to the health department to make the vaccine available to his school system’s employees.

In a statement to NBC 15 News, he said, “We look forward to the day that our teachers and school employees who wish to be vaccinated will be able to do so.”

Mobile County Health Officer Dr. Bert Eichold says they’re working on it.

“The schools are def on the list as we move forward with bringing out the vaccine,” said Dr. Eichold.

Mobile County Public School System has around 7,200 employees, and right now, the health department says there aren’t enough supplies.

It’s an issue McDaniel says AEA will continue to fight.

“We have got to get more resources into the vaccination program, so you are not seeing the kind of delays you are seeing right now,” he said.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said COVID-19 cases in schools across the state are at the highest level they have ever been, and he says it’s going to be hard to keep in-person learning as the first option.