Most states allow teachers of all ages to get vaccinated, but not Florida

By: - March 11, 2021 3:36 pm

Teacher with students in elementary school science class. Credit: Getty Images

As more COVID vaccines become available throughout the nation, most states allow educators of all ages to get the shots. But Florida is not yet one of them, according to Education Week.

Just six states don’t allow teachers of all ages to be eligible for the COVID vaccines, according to Education Week’s data tracker.

Four states (Missouri, Montana, Indiana, and New Hampshire) have not yet prioritized teachers for vaccinations yet. However, three of those states will open vaccine access to teachers by the end of this week, though it’s not clear if that will mean teachers of all ages.

The remaining two states, West Virginia and Florida, have an age-based approach for vaccinating teachers.

In West Virginia, teachers who are 40 years or older are eligible for COVID vaccines.

In Florida, the age range is a little higher — 50 years or older.

But under federal initiatives, Florida teachers do not have to wait for the state to give them permission in order to get the vaccine, depending on locations for vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Florida is currently one of five states that has ordered its schools to be open for in-person instruction, according to Education Week. The other four states are Texas, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and West Virginia (West Virginia has only some grades open.)

Florida has been relatively late to the game when it comes to vaccinating educators. According to Education Week’s data, 44 other states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, prioritized educators to some extent before Florida did.

So why doesn’t the DeSantis administration just open vaccine priorities to all educators, if plenty of pharmacies under the federal programs have already done that?

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been expanding who gets the shoots.

He recently laid out a vague vaccination plan, which would expand to all Floridians aged 60 and older, then to people aged 55 and older, then possibly opening to the general public after that.

Presumably, that would include the remaining educators that have not yet been prioritized by the state’s standards.

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.