The Burlington County Commissioners released the following statement on the expansion of vaccine eligibility to pre-k to 12th grade teachers, child care, transportation workers and public safety workers:
“Whether they have taught in the classroom, remotely or a combination of both, teachers and other school employees have gone above and beyond to make sure students can continue to learn, even during these most challenging of times,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Clearly they are essential, so we appreciate this move to include them among the populations eligible to receive vaccines. The sooner our teachers are vaccinated the more confident we’ll all feel about the safety of our schools.”
Previously, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Jan. 13 to approve a resolution urging the governor and New Jersey Department of Health to prioritize teachers and other school employees to receive vaccines. In the resolution, the Board cited the “critical role educators have in the development, maturation and education” of children and the importance of an “uninterrupted education” for their knowledge and social skills.
New Jersey Senator Troy Singleton had also encouraged Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration to prioritize educators and school support staff for vaccines to help protect both them and students. In a letter sent last week, he not only urged the Governor to designate the education workforce as a priority for the vaccine, but he also asked the Governor to provide much needed clarification on social distancing guidelines for classrooms.
“I’m encouraged by the Governor’s decision to expand vaccine eligibility to these critical public servants,” Sen. Singleton said. “We’ve heard a lot about the impact of the pandemic on our children’s health, education and mental health. Opening up eligibility to vaccines to their teachers is a big step forward to getting more students back in the classroom and learning in a safe and productive setting.”
Gov. Murphy announced Monday that eligibility for vaccines in New Jersey will be expanded starting on March 15 to pre-k through grade 12 educators and school support staff, as well as childcare workers and transportation workers, such as bus, taxi, rideshare drivers and airport employees.
Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement officers or fire professionals will also be eligible for vaccines starting March 15.
Additional essential workers will become eligible on March 29, including food production and distribution workers, agriculture workers, warehouse and logistics employees, social services support staff and elections personnel.
Hopson said the Board also strongly supports the expansion of eligibility to other essential workers, saying it marks another positive step in the in the long battle against the virus.
To date, more than 102,000 people have received vaccine in Burlington County.
“Our Board also feels strongly that expanding vaccination eligibility to child care, transportation and other public safety is also a positive move, as these essential workers are potentially at-risk and are critical for our working families and our overall economy,” she said. “The vaccines are effective and safe and offer a tremendous amount of hope that they can help bring an end to this long pandemic, so we look forward to when all our residents are afforded the protection they provide.”
Residents can register for an appointment at the Burlington County Vaccine Mega-Site at the Moorestown Mall at www.virtua.org/services/covid19-vaccine-info.
Additional information about vaccine providers is also available at https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients