On March 2, 2021, President Biden challenged all states, territories, and the District of Columbia to ensure every pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade (pre-K through 12) educator and school staff member and every childcare worker can receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by the end of the month of March. The President also directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff and childcare workers. The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with CDC to help states meet this challenge.
CDC is working with all states on this effort and will be providing targeted support to states that have not yet included teachers, school staff, and childcare workers in their prioritization to ensure they have the support needed to make this change. CDC is identifying best practices for vaccinating these essential workers, as well as addressing barriers that immunization programs have experienced. More information will be forthcoming from CDC in the days and weeks ahead.
To help states accomplish this goal, there are two avenues for obtaining vaccination for Pre-K through 12 school and childcare staff.
First, states have been directed to make teachers, school staff, and childcare workers eligible at all available vaccination locations. This group includes individuals who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers) and those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.
Second, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is prioritizing vaccinations for school staff and child care workers during the month of March. Starting no later than March 8, teachers and staff in pre-K through 12 schools and childcare programs will be able to sign up for an appointment at over 9,000 pharmacy locations participating in the federal program nationwide. Please keep in mind that not all interested individuals will be able to get appointments in the first weeks.
To reach our goal to get all pre-K through 12 school staff and childcare workers their first vaccine by the end of the month, we need your help. While we will be doing all we can to get the word out to teachers, school staff, and workers in childcare programs, your direct communications to your members, partners, and other stakeholders, letting them know about this presidential directive and how to get vaccinated, will be key. We will be providing additional guidance and information from the CDC in the coming days about how to access appointments through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, in addition to your state and local vaccination programs.
The CDC has developed these new resources we hope you will promote among your members:
1. COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for School Settings and Childcare Programs. School and childcare program leaders can use this toolkit to communicate with their staff about COVID-19 vaccination. It provides ready-made materials, including posters, flyers, letters to staff, social media messages, newsletter articles, and stickers to offer staff after they have been vaccinated.
Thank you very much for your help in getting educators and school staff vaccinated, and for all that you do to support our nation’s students.
Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel
Deputy Assistant Secretary, State and Local Engagement
Office of Communications and Outreach