LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has announced the state is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to teachers and school staff, beginning Monday. Those groups along with all pregnant women, Non-Emergency medical providers and staff, plus persons 55-64 with one or more health conditions defined by the CDC now qualify. They are among nearly half a million additional Louisiana residents who now fall into priority groups.
“Phase 1B, tier 1 will be expanded to include teachers and support staff working on site in a K-12 school, but also staff at daycare facilities as well,” says Governor John Bel Edwards.
Educators in Calcasieu Parish are echoing a sigh of relief following the announcement.
“It’s about time,” says President of the Calcasieu Parish Federation of Teachers, Teri Johnson. “Now it’s official. I think it’s good.”
Johnson believes the expansion is long overdue.
“Even when the seasoned teachers got to go, 65 and older, I thought all teachers should have been able to go because we are all exposed, everyday.,” says Johnson.
Many say teachers willing to roll up their sleeves to take the shot will be contributing to the greatest good for the greatest number.
“If school is in session, then parents don’t have to stay home with their kids,” says Gov. Edwards. “Especially with K-12 and in the lower grades, distance learning is not optimal.”
“This is going to give some of our grandparents raising kids more confidence in sending them to school,” says Johnson. “I think we’re gonna see a bigger turnover of kids coming back to school full-time.”
If you qualify within this range of eligibility, all you need to do is fill out a form on the Louisiana Department of Health’s COVID Vaccine website. As a reminder, shots will not be available until February 22.