DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD) — Although more groups are being added to the COVID-19 vaccination eligibility list, some teachers have not been able to get their first dose.
In Illinois, all teachers and school staff have been qualified to receive the vaccine since mid-January.
According to George McKenna, the Assistant Regional Superintendent for Peoria County, the Peoria County Health Department found about 200 teachers and school staff in the county that want to get vaccinated, but have not been able to.
McKenna told WMBD the health department is planning a one-day vaccine clinic to vaccinate teachers and staff who have not been able to make an appointment. Teachers who want to get vaccinated will be assigned a time to get their first dose.
McKenna said about 280 vaccinations are allocated for this event, and doses will equally be distributed throughout the districts.
Elizabeth Crider, the Regional Superintendent said this decision was not influenced by President Joe Biden’s announcement Tuesday, March 2 challenging all states to get educators and school staff vaccinated by the end of the month.
She said it’s a last-minute effort to make sure as many teachers and school staff are vaccinated before moving to the next category under Phase 1B.
Dr. Scott Dearman, Dunlap 323 Superindent, said the president is ambitious to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated because everyone is entitled to make their own decision.
“The enforcement of that would put an undue burden on the school’s districts,” Dearman said. “I mean it’s no different, in my opinion, from some of the other required vaccinations for students. There are ways around it, and there are certain exemptions.”
Although the president has challenged all states to get their teachers and educational staff vaccinated by the end of March, it is not a nation-wide mandate.
“I feel comfortable with where we are at,” Dearman said. “We have been tracking our data from day one and our numbers have been trending in a positive direction.”
Thursday, March 4, WMBD will show you how much of your child’s district is vaccinated and if school districts are considering requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for teachers and staff.