INDIANAPOLIS — All Hoosier teachers will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine through the federal government’s pharmacy program.
The news comes a day after President Joe Biden called on teachers to be vaccinated by the end of March. Any Indiana teacher age 50 or more can go to any state site, but those under age 50 must use the federal pharmacy program, through Walmart, Kroger, and Meijer.
"This is a topic that our staff has been very concerned about for months because they’ve been on the front lines since July,” said Dr. Scott Wyndham, superintendent of Avon School Corporation, "I’m just pleased that at this point if our staff want a vaccine they can get a vaccine.”
Educators and supporters have been pushing for teachers to be included in eligibility for the vaccine since its initial rollout.
“Our desire to get our students back to as stable a learning environment as possible and that by vaccinating teachers we could hope to minimize the disruption that is occurring especially when you have teachers or other educators that need to be quarantined,” said Keith Gambill, president of Indiana State Teacher Association.
Gambill noting that states surrounding Indiana, including Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, have been vaccinating their teachers for several weeks.
“You look at those states. It wasn’t just educators it was all essential workers that were rolled into that mix and they figured out how to do that,” Gambill said.
“We’re trying to be guided by the medical and the data and co-morbidities and age is the single biggest risk,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said about the choice to continue expanding state eligibility by age and not by vocation.
One-in-five teachers were made eligible for the vaccine when the state expanded eligibility to 55 and older on Tuesday and thousands more are now eligible as the state expanded to include 50 and older on Wednesday.
Between the federal pharmacy program and state leaders lowering the age eligibility in Indiana, all 65,000 Hoosier educators will soon be able to receive their vaccine.
As of Wednesday afternoon, appointments for teachers are not yet available at those websites.