COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It’s the moment teachers have been waiting for – vaccination week for many across Ohio. However, not everyone is in that first wave for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, said his big concern is that not all teachers and education staff will have both doses of the vaccine by March 1, Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed deadline to having students across the state back in the classroom.
Districts had to commit to returning to school by that date to get on the list for the vaccine and like the rollout for the state, is being spaced out.
Education staff in Franklin and Delaware counties will be among the first in central Ohio to get that vaccine. DiMauro worries about the supplying and pacing of the rollout.
“I think it’s unfortunate that, you know, the rollout of the vaccine was conditional on this commitment and I think as a practical matter, no one knows exactly what’s going to be happening come March 1,” he explained.
The Ohio Department of Health and DeWine released the schedules for schools last week. Counties like Fairfield and Madison will have to wait until Feb. 22 to get their first doses.
DiMauro feels with the scarcity of the vaccine, he thinks it should where he believes it is needed the most first.
“Communities that have high concentrations of students in poverty, communities of color, and direct those resources there as we continue to try and vaccinate everybody,” he said.
A spokesperson with the Governor’s office said the order of the counties is largely logistics based.
The schedule is based off who was ready to go in the early weeks. The state is also trying to vaccinate neighboring districts within counties at the same time.
The spokesperson added, if the state had enough doses, they would have wanted to do everyone at once, but it’s not possible.
Clinics kicks off Tuesday in the Reynoldsburg and Hilliard City School districts for staff in Franklin County.
Columbus Public Health will have nearly 6,000 coronavirus vaccine doses earmarked for schools.
“I haven’t seen any evidence that there has been any type of equity-based decision making in this initial roll out,” DiMauro said. “Quite frankly, this seems very random. The 11 counties that were included in this first week seem to add up to a number that must roughly equate to the number of doses and probably reflect where ESCs and vaccine providers had plans in place. There may be some states where the logistics just haven’t been worked out yet.”
Below the schedules for each week regarding when school districts are set to be eligible for the vaccine: