Alaska officials to consider sooner vaccines for teachers News Staff

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials say they are considering bumping up teachers on the state’s vaccine list as more students have restarted in-person instruction.

Tessa Walker Linderman, a top vaccine official with the state Department of Health and Social Services, made the announcement on Thursday.

“This is a conversation that’s being had,” Linderman said. “We don’t have anything official to report just yet, but conversations are happening about what these tiers will look like going forward.”

The state has prioritized health care workers, seniors 65 years of age or older and long-term care residents and staff so far.

Teachers 50 years of age or older, residents that have two or more high-risk health conditions and other essential workers are currently set to be prioritized next, Alaska Public Media reported.

Dianne Shibe, president of the Mat-Su teachers union, said her union members are not lobbying to jump ahead of senior citizens. But she said teachers should be prioritized in the next group.

“These people are in there, dedicated to in-person learning, but at the same time knowing and fearing that they could get this virus,” Shibe said.

State officials said conversations about vaccinating teachers are happening both in Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office and among a scientific and medical advisory committee that has helped develop the state’s vaccine policy.

The Associated Press

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