Alaska officials to consider vaccinating teachers earlier than initially planned

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:36 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As students star returning to in-person education throughout the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Alaska health officials say they are considering bumping up teachers on the state’s vaccine list.

Last Thursday Tessa Walker Linderman, a top vaccine official with the state Department of Health and Social Services announced that conversations about vaccinating teachers earlier than planned, are currently underway.

So far the state has prioritized vaccine recipients to be healthcare workers, seniors 65 years of age or older along with long-term care residents and staff.

“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,” said Linderman.

Currently 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 in the next tier.

“People are anxious to know what’s coming next as well. And so we are looking at around mid-February to be our timeline for announcing any updates or new tiers that would be opening up. We don’t anticipate any new tiers opening in February, we might communicate some additional tier language but we are really focused on 65 and over for the rest of February,” said Linderman.

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.

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