Pennsylvania teachers and school staff prioritized for Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine

Vaccinate PA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf announced that teachers, school staff, and child care workers are now prioritized for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“If you’ve been offered the vaccine, you really ought to come back to school and be willing to work in the classroom,” Governor Wolf said.

The initial priority will be vaccinating teachers and staff who work with pre-K and elementary students, students with disabilities, ESL students, and child care workers. Wolf says this is because younger students are more susceptible to learning loss.

“Future allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will focus on teachers and staff who work with older students,” Wolf said.

Wolf says 94,000 doses will be going directly to Intermediate Units. Through the federal partnership, 30,000 will go to pharmacies to vaccinate child care workers. The federal government is expected to pump out 4-million doses of the sing-dose vaccine nationwide between now and the end of March.

“We should have enough vaccines to cover the entire education community, private and public by the end of March,” Wolf said.

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To get the shots into arms quickly, intermediate units across the state will hold vaccine sites and work to schedule appointments. Most locations will start vaccinations between March 10 and 13.

“It’s going to start, which it already has, with a survey to each school district, each charter school, each non-public school and then the leadership in those schools will give the survey to their staff, so we know we know who the people are that we’re going to target with scheduling for the event,” said Andria Saia, Executive Director of the Capital Area Intermediate Unit.

Donna Dunar, Superintendent of the East Pennsboro Area School District says the decision is exciting and long overdue.

“We think it’s great and important for people to have a sense of relief and comfort so that’s what this does if everyone has a chance to get this done, it puts people’s minds at ease,” Dunar said.

Wolf estimates around 200,000 teachers and school staff work within Pennsylvania’s schools.

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