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Governor says vaccines are limited as school officials ask state to prioritize teachers

COVID-19 Decatur Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL Tucker

Governor says vaccines are limited as school officials ask state to prioritize teachers

Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during an April 8 press conference. Image obtained via Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Decatur, GA — School officials in Decatur, DeKalb County and the city of Atlanta want Gov. Brian Kemp to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers and school staff.

But Gov. Kemp’s office said there simply aren’t enough doses of the vaccine to go around and prioritizing teachers would push other people to the back of the line.

Currently, educators are not included in the Phase 1A+ part of the state’s vaccination campaign unless they are 65 and older or they are a caretaker for someone who is.

Superintendents representing 11 metro area school districts — including City Schools of Decatur, Atlanta Public Schools and DeKalb County Public Schools — signed a letter to Kemp asking him to put teachers and school staff into the 1A group, as first reported by Chris Jose of WSB.

School Board members representing multiple school districts, including DeKalb County and Atlanta Public Schools, signed a letter making a similar request.

In their letter to the governor, the superintendents said, “The longer we delay in vaccinating our teachers and school staff, the more we risk having to close our doors once again.”

Cody Hall, a spokesperson for the governor, said the problem doesn’t have an easy fix.

“This is a simple math problem the superintendents who signed this letter should certainly understand,” Hall said. “As the Governor and Dr. [Kathleen] Toomey have said multiple times: Georgia is not currently receiving enough vaccine supply to provide priority vaccination to over 400,000 teachers and school staff. Additional vaccine does not appear out of thin air and the data is clear. With a weekly allocation of 146,000 doses, the current 1A plus population still accounts for over 2 million high-risk Georgians. Georgia has currently reported over 741,000 vaccinations. These superintendents should explain which currently eligible population should be, in their view, sent to the back of the line for vaccination. Seniors? Healthcare workers? First responders and law enforcement? The Governor has repeatedly stated – as recently as today – that as soon as Georgia begins to receive increased vaccine supply, teachers and school staff will absolutely be included in any expanded criteria.”

Here are the letters sent to Gov. Kemp by the superintendents and school board members:

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