LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – As the battle continues to rage over whether schools should be reopened, a Los Angeles County supervisor is calling on teachers to be among the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn Wednesday sent letters to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling on teachers to be prioritized in the vaccine hierarchy in order to more quickly get students back into the classroom.
“If it was ever up for debate before, this pandemic has made it clear once and for all that our classroom teachers are essential,” Supervisor Hahn wrote in the letter. “We need teachers back in their classrooms. They are essential to our kids, our families, and our economy. Our vaccine distribution plan should reflect that fact.”
Specifically, Hahn is asking that teachers be moved up into Tier One of Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution plan.
California began distributing the vaccine on Monday. Currently, California is in Phase 1A of its COVID-19 distribution plan, which includes paid and unpaid healthcare workers as well as residents of nursing homes.
Once healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities are vaccinated, the plan will move into Phase 1B, which includes essential workers. According to the CDC, essential workers include teachers, police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, transportation workers, grocery store workers and farm workers.
Hahn is asking that teachers be moved towards the top of that list.
While dozens of private schools have already received waivers to reopen campuses, most public schools, including those in the L.A. County Unified School District, have remained closed since March, with teaching taking place in a virtual format. Long Beach Unified reported this week that it would not reopen schools until at least March.
L.A. County was expected to receive a total of about 83,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and potentially another 250,00 doses of the Modern vaccine next week, assuming it is approved by the FDA over the weekend.
The county anticipates receiving another 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of December, followed by weekly allotments of 250,000 beginning in January. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines both require two doses, separated by about three weeks.
With L.A. County planning to vaccinate 6 million people in six months, that equates to 12 million doses of vaccine.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)