top of page

Alabama educators to receive vaccines

TUSCALOOSA — Education employees in Alabama will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning this week, the Alabama Department of Public Health said.

The state is following an implementation plan that outlines who receives the vaccination when, given the number of vaccinations are limited at both the state and national level. The state is now entering Phase 1B, which will also include people 65 and older, first responders such as police officers and paramedics, grocery store workers, public transit workers and other essential workers.

Following the announcement, the Druid City Hospital System expanded its number of vaccine appointments from 1,400 to 5,000, all which were filled in under 24 hours. Last weekend was specifically designated for vaccinating education employees.

“To create as much capacity as possible to meet that demand, we set aside some time for the smaller group of educators,” DCH spokesperson Andy North said. “They also work during normal appointment times, so we decided it was important to offer them some weekend times.”

The response led DCH to designate Feb. 13 to vaccinate educators as well. DCH plans to administer around 500 vaccines each of these days.

Cheryl Wallace, president of the Tuscaloosa County Education Association, said she is ecstatic for the new step and hopes everyone takes advantage of the moment. Terry Martin, a world history teacher at Tuscaloosa County High School, agreed.

“It’s critical that the vaccine is available to us simply due to the fact that we come into contact with hundreds of students and faculty on a daily basis. Many of us have been teaching traditional in-person classes since August,” Martin said. “We know that we’ve waited long enough.”

Though educators will be included in the next phase of vaccinations, a low supply of vaccines in the state means that an appointment cannot be guaranteed. Alabama receives only about 100,000 doses weekly, and with the new expansion, almost two million people will be eligible to be vaccinated, according to ADPH.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Dr. Scott Harris of ADPH expressed their frustrations with the supply from the federal government and explained why they are still expanding the priority groups in a press release.

“Alabama is expanding its guidance despite the limited vaccine in order to accelerate the vaccine uptake in our state,” Harris said. “Any vaccine currently in the state has someone’s name on it.”

Confusion has surrounded the rollout of vaccines, with some not included in Phase 1A receiving the vaccine while the state was still in the first phase. This led many included in Phase 1B to believe they could schedule an appointment at the time, such as educators.

“The miscommunication of our status was quite frustrating, then to the dismal reality of the rollout just added to those emotions,” Wallace said. “Now that we know we can register for the vaccine…this is great news for us, because we are also on the frontline everyday caring for our students.”


bottom of page