Ski Patrol Before Teachers? States Criticized Over Vaccine Timelines

English lauguage arts teacher Frank Esposito works on his laptop in his classroom at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York.

English lauguage arts teacher Frank Esposito works on his laptop in his classroom at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

State officials chose which groups are next in line for coronavirus vaccines. Now some are facing criticism over who they prioritized.

As states begin to make coronavirus vaccines available to broader segments of the public, health officials have had to make difficult choices about who should be next in line.

And state leaders are facing pushback over determinations that certain occupations or medical conditions will be eligible before others.  

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recently defended his state’s decision to include smokers in the latest category of people eligible for the vaccine after criticism from educators, who will not be eligible until a later vaccination phase.   

“I must push back on the false narrative that we’re vaccinating smokers while not vaccinating another group,” Murphy wrote on Twitter, emphasizing that the state has a duty to prioritize those who are at a higher risk. “We have a limited supply of vaccines from the federal government – roughly 100,000 additional doses coming in per week.”

Last week, the state opened up vaccine eligibility to residents 65 and older and those between the ages of 16 and 64 who have chronic medical conditions. Smokers were included because of their susceptibility to the virus, said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued guidance on which groups to prioritize for each phase of the vaccine rollout, states have leeway to adjust or ignore those recommendations. But as states chose to deviate from the CDC guidance, leaders have been put in the hot seat by professional organizations advocating for their members.

Meatpackers, aviation workers, and firefighters are among those who have lobbied lawmakers to include their industries in early vaccine distribution phases.

Decisions that have placed teachers behind other occupational groups have also been a source of tension for state officials. Vaccination of teachers will be key to reopening schools—something President Biden has promised to make significant progress on during his first 100 days in office.

The New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association was furious that members of the ski patrol qualified for the first phase of vaccinations ahead of teachers.

The organization issued a statement this month asking Gov. Chris Sununu to explain why ski patrol members were included in “Phase 1a” while educators will have to wait until “Phase 2” begins in March. New Hampshire is one of only a few states that have not followed CDC guidance to include teachers in “Phase 1b.”

We’re upset because we believe front line educators need to be vaccinated before out-of-state ski patrol members. And so does every other state in the union,” the association wrote.

Sununu accused the association of politicizing the vaccination process and noted that some schools have reopened for hybrid or in-person learning even before the vaccine was available.

“This idea that you have to prioritize teachers because they have to have the vaccine to open a school, that's a completely false statement, and it's proven out hundreds of times over across the state,” Sununu said at a press conference this week.

Vaccine scarcity may lead some states to progress more slowly through their distribution phases than others, punting potentially divisive eligibility questions down the road for months.

Major cities in California have opened multiple large-scale vaccine sites, but state officials said this week that vaccine stocks are critically low due to supply issues. The state is currently vaccinating people age 65 and older, healthcare industry workers and employees and residents of nursing homes. But many have reported difficulties getting appointments or endured long lines to get their shots.

State officials said this week that based on the current pace of vaccine shipments from the federal government, it could take four months to finish vaccinating all people over the age of 65 and to move onto the next phase.

In Washington, D.C., local officials plan to make people with a broad swath of preexisting health conditions, including obesity, eligible for priority vaccination. Some public health experts have questioned whether the District will be able to keep up with demand if it extends eligibility too far too soon.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

NEXT STORY: Lawmakers Move to Strip Governors’ Emergency Powers

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.