Federal program allows teachers to get vaccinated, some find issues with sign-up

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INDIANAPOLIS––Thursday is the first full day of vaccination registration for Indiana educators, thanks to expanded eligibility at the federal level.

Through the federal pharmacy vaccination program, all school workers, regardless of age, can now get their shots at sites like Meijer, Kroger, and Walmart. But not all teachers will be able to book their appointments in the same way.

Indiana educators who are eager to sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine are running into some issues.
Many are finding that there are no appointments available for the second dose, after booking the first dose.

On websites like Kroger’s, this prevents you from completing the signup process, bringing you back to square one. A Kroger representative says, “the scheduling challenges are a result of demand that pre-dates the eligibility of teachers.”

“President Biden’s call this week was so important and so very welcomed in Indiana,” said Indiana State Teachers Association, President, Keith Gambill.

The Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) has been pushing to get educators vaccinated for months before the decision was made to bring Hoosiers back into the classroom.

“We’re still learning more information about how exactly this is going to work for teachers here in Indiana,” said Indiana Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver.

Currently, Hoosiers over the age of 50 and with certain underlying health conditions are eligible by going to the states website or by calling 2-1-1.

Teachers who don’t fall into that category will go through a different process by signing up on a Meijer, Kroger, or Walmart website. You’ll then answer a series of questions to determine eligibility. On Kroger’s website you’ll select ‘school worker’ and then choose a location that’s most convenient for you and schedule your appointment.

ISTA says this is essential to provide a stable and safe learning environment not only for the teachers but the students.

“We really believe in stabilizing that learning environment as best as we can for students is what’s going to be best for them. And that’s why with us having in-person instruction that it’s important to get our educators vaccinated,” said Gambill.

A total of 9,000 pharmacies are part of this effort and the federal government hopes to expand to 40,000. Their goal is to be able to vaccinate all school workers K-12 by the end of March.

“I want to salute all of our educators for the work they have done this year. They have absolutely been amazing to do everything that they’ve been doing,” said Gambill.

We’ve reached out to all three participating pharmacies; none were available for interviews. But we’re still pushing to learn if and when Hoosiers will be able to schedule their first dose along with the second.

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