MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin teachers are now eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Educators who live or work in the city of Milwaukee will be offered the vaccine starting Monday through the next several weeks.
The Milwaukee Health Department said the state sent them a special allotment of 9,000 doses this week that are only to be given to educators.
Whether they’ve been in the classroom or teaching virtually from home, teachers are one step closer to being immune to the virus that’s altered their work for the past year.
Milwaukee Public Schools teacher Christian Islas said he signed up online for his vaccine last week and became one of the first MPS educators to get a dose on March 1.
“It’s important that we have to be healthy first, so then the ones around us can be healthy,” he said.
The Milwaukee Health Department said there are around 25,000 Milwaukee educators to follow.
“Our main focus for the first half of March is on vaccination of the education sector and then we will be focusing more heavily on the rest of the eligible phase 1B group,” said Milwaukee Health Dept. Medical Director Heather Paradis.
Paradis said prioritizing teachers doesn’t come at the expense of those who fall into previously eligible groups but have yet to receive the vaccine. Paradis said the city is receiving a special allotment for teachers on top of the city’s regular allotment of 2,500 doses a week.
Paradis said newly eligible groups like grocers, public transit workers and people who live in congregate settings will have to wait a few more weeks to get through teachers first.
Preschool teacher Sharney Wilks believes that’s necessary to get students safely back into the classroom before spring turns to summer.
“With primary, and that’s my area, their attention span is so short so they really struggle with it, so this will be more opening that door to get back with them and helping them,” Wilks said.
The ‘educator’ category in Wisconsin doesn’t just include teachers. Daycare and child care workers are also eligible for the vaccine starting March 1 as well.