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Teachers and essential workers speak out on Gov. Lamont's new vaccine timeline

The Governor also kept his promise to prioritize educators for vaccines, announcing during his press conference Monday.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Currently, those ages 65 and above can receive a vaccine but starting next Monday that age group expands to those ages 55 and above, then on March 22nd those ages 45 and above, then on April 12th those ages 35 and above. Lastly, May 3rd is when everyone over the age of 16 can get vaccinated. 

Governor Lamont said considering 96% of COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut occur in individuals over the age of 50, an age-based approach to the timeline was the safest bet. 

The Governor also kept his promise to prioritize educators for vaccines, announcing during his press conference Monday teachers and staff will be able to receive a vaccine in March.  

“The quicker we can initiate the process the more likely we will be returning to a safe environment where we are with all our students which is what we educators want,” Berlin High School teacher David Basso said. 

The state said it's also focusing on providing vaccine equity and access- educators pointing out the decision to vaccinate staff in school districts helps achieve that goal. 

“When we are vaccinating our custodians, our secretaries, our cafeteria workers, we’re getting at the whole entire school community and that is going to be major for the safety factor in schools but in our communities at large,” Bunnell High School teacher Kristen Record said. 

“Listening to the experts at DPH talking about how it goes beyond our schools and how it includes all childcare workers, which is a lot of people of color, it's a critically important move for us in the state of Connecticut,” Woodland Regional High School teacher Meghan Geary said. 

Although many who fall under the ‘essential workers’ category were expecting to receive a vaccine much sooner and aren’t in favor of the new guidelines. 

The 32BJ Service Employees International Union released a statement reading in part: “Our union’s 5,000 janitors and security officers in Connecticut are among the thousands of essential workers who have kept our state running by changing death every single workday.”

Also speaking out, supermarket employees, UFCW Local 371 union stated: “Across the US, over 30,100 unionized grocery workers have been exposed or infected...  getting our members who serve in these essential functions vaccinated as quickly as possible is imperative to the health of our entire state.” 

Gov. Lamont said the phased approach could change depending on demand for the vaccine and supply.