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What to know about President Biden’s plan to prioritize vaccinations for Maryland educators

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday afternoon that he wants states to prioritize teachers for vaccinations — with the goal of getting “teachers, school staff and child care providers” at least one shot by the end of March — and requiring pharmacies in the federal vaccine program to reserve slots for educators.

What changes for educators?

Teachers, child care providers and other educators may find it easier to get an appointment to be vaccinated starting next week, when the federal government increases its allocation to pharmacies to 2.4 million doses. Maryland is among the states that already included teachers among groups eligible for vaccines at sites run by the state and county or through pharmacies partnering with the state.

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How do educators sign up?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have instructed pharmacies in the federal vaccine program to reserve all appointments that haven’t been previously booked in the month of March for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and schools staff as well as child care workers. In Maryland, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will reserve doses for those eligible educators beginning next week.

To get an appointment, educators will have to book an appointment online, a process that has been difficult for many eligible people because of the scarcity of the doses.

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How many additional doses will that mean for Maryland educators?

The state did not have estimates on Wednesday of how many additional doses educators might be able to get in upcoming weeks.

The state has about 82,000 school professional staff, as well as bus drivers, cafeteria workers and others who need to be vaccinated. Because most public school staff have been searching for their own appointments, school leaders don’t know what percentage of staff are already vaccinated.

The CDC said that any appointments that haven’t been booked 48 hours prior to the appointment may be given to others. “Enrolled retail pharmacy providers are also encouraged to utilize mobile and pop-up locations, as feasible, to reach this population,” the CDC guidance says.

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