Pennsylvania teachers to get 1-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Wolf says

Coronavirus

Education groups say vaccinating school staff is essential to reopen schools and keep them open

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — With growing emphasis on getting students back in schools, teachers and school staff will receive the first doses delivered to Pennsylvania of the newly approved one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“This Johnson & Johnson stream goes to our teachers and school employees, public and private,” Wolf said.

State officials expect 94,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to arrive this week. Wolf’s office says giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff will “help protect school communities and get more students back into classrooms.”

The decision came about over the weekend, just a day after the FDA approved the drug.

“We were notified late Tuesday afternoon that something was happening,” said Sharon City Schools Superintendent Mike Calla.

Ironically, the plan came together as President Joe Biden issued his own goals in battling the pandemic.

“We want every educator, school staff, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of March,” Biden said.

But to do that requires quick action.

“We are being told we need to gather information and get back to our local intermediate units by Friday,” Calla said.

Vaccine clinics would then open up at centralized locations starting next week.

“Over 100,000 educators should be ready before the end of March to be back in the classroom,” Wolf said.

Calla said vaccination plans have not been without problems and frustrations coming from Harrisburg.

“We were prepared. We were going to work with local hospitals, Sharon Regional in particular, and then it was all put on hold,” Calla said.

That forced some staff to find their own vaccine clinics. Others are now looking forward to finally getting their chance.

“Let’s get back to normal as quickly as we can, especially with spring coming up and summer. Our goal is to get back to fall at 100%,” Calla said.

The state is still in Phase 1A of its vaccine plan. That’s health care workers, people age 65 and over and younger people with high-risk medical conditions.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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