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Arizona teachers ‘excited’ about coronavirus vaccine prioritization

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

PHOENIX — Arizona teachers are welcoming the news from Gov. Doug Ducey about his request to have them be among the first to get the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.

“We’re excited mainly because we want things to go back to normal,” said Marisol Garcia, vice president of the Arizona Education Association.

“We definitely miss being with our students in front of them, walking into a school and being able to deliver high quality instruction.”

She added the majority of the teachers she knows are ready to do what it takes to be back in their classrooms.

“If that means we have to not only take the vaccine but continue wearing masks and continue with social distancing, they’re going to say ‘sign me up,’” she said. “This profession is more than a job. It’s really a calling.”

Ducey announced during a press conference Wednesday that he had asked Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ to prioritize teachers as being among the first individuals in the state who will qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We know that teachers desperately want to get back into their classrooms safely,” Ducey said. “Teachers are essential to our state so under our plan they will be prioritized along with our frontline healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, long-term care and of course our most vulnerable.”

Arizona is expected to receive the first shipment of vaccine doses in mid to late December, and distribution will begin promptly. More doses will be available the following weeks.

A draft released in October of the Arizona COVID-19 Vaccination Plan listed health care workers, residents of long term care facilities, teachers and vulnerable populations among the first group of people to get the vaccine in phase one.

Those in phase two included people at increased risk of getting or transmitting the virus, including individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups, people in correctional facilities and college students.

Phase two also included people with limited access to routine vaccination services, such as those living in rural communities and people with disabilities.

Christ is expected to provide updated details about the state’s vaccination plan at a later day.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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