Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement today following President Joe Biden’s directive that all states must prioritize vaccinations of teachers and childcare workers.
“Like President Biden, I am grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of educators every day, and especially during this pandemic. The president has directed us to add preK-12 educators, school staff and licensed childcare workers to our current vaccine prioritization. This directive will be carried out through existing providers and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which operates through national pharmacies and independent pharmacy chains.
“Therefore, we are adding educators and licensed childcare workers to Washington’s Phase 1B-1 immediately. The Washington State Department of Health will have more specific information soon on how those workers can access vaccines. Phase Finder may take time to reflect these changes, but educators and licensed childcare workers can schedule with providers right away.
“The good news is that schools will be able to open and we are pleased that teachers will be back in the classroom. This should give educators more confidence to return to in-person learning and that it can be done with the safety protocols that are being used by 1,400 other schools in our state right now.
“We will continue the current state plans and goals to focus on those most at risk, including older adults and those facing the greatest equity gaps.
“To that end, I will soon be announcing when our state vaccine prioritization will be moving to include critical workers in certain congregate settings including those who work in grocery stores, farmworkers, food processors, bus drivers, corrections workers and others.
“We will continue our progress in getting every Washingtonian vaccinated. I am grateful for the partnership of the federal government and their efforts to help move educators up in the prioritization.”