TRENTON - New Jersey on Saturday opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include teachers and staff from pre-K to 12th grade as the most densely populated state in the country continues its arduous vaccine rollout.
Touring one of New Jersey's six mass vaccination clinics at Rowan College, Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the challenges presented by vaccinating teachers who spend most of their weekdays teaching students. He said the state will offer flexible hours and use dedicate lanes at megasites to provide flexibility to educators.
"We'll have in place the vaccination program that works best for our educators from hours that don't eat into the school day to dedicated lanes at megasites," Murphy said.
The push to get teachers and staff back into school buildings is one that Murphy said must be done "safely, responsibly and equitably." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month that there is strong evidence that schools can open safely with the proper mitigation precautions during the vaccine rollout.
"The faster we can get our schools open, get our students back in the classroom, it's what every teacher wants," said Scott Atkinson, a teacher at Riverside High School.
The governor called Rowan's clinic the highest performing vaccine megasite in the Garden State. According to the latest data, New Jersey has issued over 1.5M first jabs and more than 800k second doses. Murphy last week predicted that by the end of March the number of available doses will "explode."
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