Starting Monday, teachers and several other groups, including seniors who are 75 and older, can start signing up for appointments for the coronavirus vaccine. While the state is warning it could take weeks to secure a slot, the city’s teachers union says it has worked out a way to put educators on the fast-track.
Cynthia Bennett, a school nurse for the city’s public school system, was very proud to show off her COVID-19 vaccination card after receiving her first dose of the vaccine on Sunday.
“I think the science tells us that this is the most efficient and safest way to combat the pandemic that we’re in and to bring some normalcy to our lives,” Bennett said.
Bennett, who is the School Nurses Chapter Leader for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), is joining UFT President Michael Mulgrew to urge teachers and others who are eligible from the nearly 200,000 member union to take advantage of a priority access program that the UFT has set up.
“NYU Emblem Health, GHI, HIP, Northwell, all of the providers we are working with and any other provider we have not spoken with,” said Mulgrew of the partnerships, adding, “I am here to tell you the UFT will help you utilize your vaccine because we don’t want vaccines on shelves. We want them to be given to the people who need them and want them.”
Mulgrew says this announcement is a direct response to a challenge issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week for teachers unions to set up their own system to help speed up the distribution of the vaccine.
The state has warned it could take weeks for teachers, seniors 75 and older, and other groups that become eligible for the vaccine on Monday to secure an appointment if they register through the standard hubs, such as the city Health Department’s website, nyc.gov/vaccinelocations.
Mulgrew says the UFT would start sending emails to all of its eligible members on Sunday to explain how they can expect priority access to the vaccine, if they reach out to the UFT to make an appointment.
WHO ELSE IS INCLUDED IN THE NEXT ROUND OF VACCINATIONS?
In addition to teachers, education workers and those 75 and older, first responders, public safety workers, and public transit workers will also be eligible for the vaccine in New York City starting Monday.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?
Those eligible for the vaccine will need to complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form in order to get vaccinated.
If you’ve booked an appointment for the vaccine, state health officials want you to keep two things in particular in mind:
- If you don’t feel well, you are encouraged to reschedule your appointment.
- Wearing a face covering to your appointment is mandatory. Without one, you will not be admitted into the site.
I’VE BEEN VACCINATED, DO I STILL NEED TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS?
You sure do. Even though scientists say the vaccines currently available are around 95% effective at immunizing a person from COVID-19, more research needs to be done in regards to whether or not a person who’s received the vaccine can still spread the virus.
Health officials say staying home when you are sick, frequently washing your hands, wearing a face covering when near others and keeping physical distance is highly recommended.