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Wolf Administration Provides Additional Information on COVID-19 Vaccine for Teachers, Child Care Workers, School Staff

03/04/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The departments of Health (DOH) and Education (PDE) joined the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to provide additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine for Pre-K-12 teachers and other school staff following Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force’s associated announcement Wednesday.

“The approval of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine provides a great opportunity to launch this special initiative to vaccinate all teachers, child care workers and school staff without interrupting the flow of vaccine local providers have already administered to more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.

The Wolf Administration is collaborating with Intermediate Units (IUs) and other education partners to equitably vaccinate all school employees and contracted staff as quickly as possible.

Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school staff across Pennsylvania will be provided an opportunity to be vaccinated, with educators and school staff working with elementary education students, students with disabilities, and English Learners being the first eligible to register.

Pennsylvania expects to receive an initial allocation of 94,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose vaccine this week. Allocations received by Pennsylvania from the federal government will be distributed to each IU based on the proportion of Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school employees and contracted staff in each IU's region.

Child care workers will be contacted by one of the local Retail Pharmacy Program partners — Rite Aid, Topco and Walmart — to schedule vaccinations using the additional, separate allocations of Johnson & Johnson vaccine they will receive from the federal government.

“I am grateful to Governor Wolf and the Legislative Task Force for making educators a priority for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “After a year of unprecedented educational shifts and tensions, we are closer to relieving some constraints and increasing access to in-person learning opportunities, services, programs, and supports that will positively impact entire communities.”

It’s important to note that Philadelphia is not included in these allocations, because Philadelphia County is a separate vaccine jurisdiction.

There will be at least one vaccination site per IU region. School staff will be directed to the vaccination site in the region within which their school is located. The Pennsylvania National Guard (PANG) and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, LLC, a health organization contracted by PEMA for planning and staffing assistance at commonwealth-established vaccine sites, will direct operations and administer doses at these sites. Vaccination sites are expected to begin operations between March 10 and 13 with daily operational hours.

“We anticipate that the majority of these sites will support up to 500 doses a day, with some of the sites in IU’s with higher amounts of teachers and support staff being able to administer up to 1,000 doses a day,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield.  “We anticipate most sites will be completed administering the first round of available vaccine in 8-10 days.” 

IUs will work with Pre-K to 12 school entities to identify staff who are interested in receiving the vaccine. The following individuals will be given the first opportunity to register:

  • Pre-K-12 teachers of students with disabilities and English learners and related in-classroom support staff;
  • Elementary teachers and related in-classroom support staff, beginning with the youngest students;
  • Bus drivers/transporters, and support staff and contracted service providers who have direct contact with elementary students; and
  • Other priority school staff who have regular, sustained in-person contact with students during the school day.

More information and answers to questions about the COIVD-19 Vaccine for teachers, child care workers, and school staff is available on PDE’s website.

As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its recently updated guidance, access to vaccination should not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue to implement mitigation strategies, including face coverings and physical distancing.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, March 1: 

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

Access audio, video, and photos from the press conference where this information was announced.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander - kenalexand@pa.gov

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