Federal

CDC: Nearly 80 Percent of K-12, Child-Care Workers Have Had at Least One COVID-19 Shot

By Evie Blad — April 06, 2021 2 min read
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11, 2021. Teachers received their first vaccine during an all-day event at the Virginia Highlands Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s teachers, school staff members, and child care workers had received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

School administrators and policymakers have seen vaccines as a key tool to reopening schools by protecting adults from infection and giving them greater confidence about teaching in person.

Tuesday’s announcement came after President Joe Biden directed states in March to prioritize teachers for early vaccine doses and made inoculations available to them through a federal pharmacy program.

At the time of Biden’s announcement, 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had made some or all teachers eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, according to an Education Week tracker.
Many states that had not yet included school staff in their priority populations made the shift days after Biden’s announcement.

“Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and child care workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

The CDC’s previous guidance for schools identified vaccines as an additional strategy for safe reopenings, but Walensky has said teacher vaccines are not necessarily a prerequisite to reopening.

The CDC’s estimate is based on internal data and surveys it conducted in partnership with other federal agencies. The survey collected responses from about 13,000 school employees and about 40,000 child care workers, drawing a pool of responses that was demographically similar to national employment data.

The federal estimate came as the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest union, shared an internal poll with CBS News that found 81 percent of educators surveyed had been vaccinated or were scheduled to receive a vaccine. Of the respondents who had not been vaccinated or were not scheduled to do so, about half said they didn’t plan to get the shot, CBS reported.

About 2 million education and child care workers received shots through the federal pharmacy program, the CDC said. Others received shots through state programs. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose. Vaccines created by manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer require two injections spaced 21 to 28 days apart.

The news about teacher vaccines come as states around the country open vaccine access to their general populations.

Biden, who had previously directed states offer vaccines to their full adult populations by May 1, revised that deadline Tuesday, directing them to do so by April 19 instead.

Public health officials have stressed the urgency of vaccinating wide swaths of the population as quickly as possible, trying to beat the spread and emergence of new, more contagious variants of the virus.

Their efforts come after agencies like the CDC have stressed that schools can more easily operate in person if virus levels remain low in their surrounding communities.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Biden Calls on Schools to Host COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for Kids 12 and Up
The president is focusing on vaccinating children ages 12 and older as concerns grow about the Delta variant and its impact on schools.
2 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on June 2.
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal How Political Backlash to Critical Race Theory Reached School Reopening Guidance
A lawmaker wants Miguel Cardona to repudiate the Abolitionist Teaching Network after federal COVID-19 documents referenced the group's work.
6 min read
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.<br/>
Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA via AP
Federal Biden Team: Schools Can Go Beyond Trump Rules in Response to Alleged Sexual Misconduct
The Education Department's guidance, released July 20, states that Title IX rules from 2020 lay out "minimum steps" for educators.
3 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Fact Check: After Furor Over 1619 Project, Feds Adjust History and Civics Grant Plans
A previously obscure history and civics program has weathered a political storm, but what exactly has changed?
4 min read
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP