California will soon be setting aside 10% of all of the first-round vaccine doses it receives specifically for teachers, educators and childcare workers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.
The change will start on March 1, Newsom said, with a beginning baseline of at least 75,000 doses a week. It's part of an effort to move schools closer to resuming in-person learning.
Teachers and childcare workers are already being prioritized to receive the vaccine in California and can already sign up to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
"Thirty-five counties in the state of California currently are prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and educators. We want to operationalize that as the standard for all 58 counties in the state," the governor said.
California is also working to boost vaccine distribution to all groups, with a goal of administering 4 million vaccine doses per week. So far, the state has administered 6.9 million doses.
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On Thursday, 264,000 doses were administered -- the highest single-day number yet, Newsom said.
"The only constraint is manufactured supply," Newsom said.
Vaccines have been a sticking point for Los Angeles Unified School District and the labor union, United Teachers Los Angeles, which made it part of its effort to safely reopen schools.
WATCH | Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses vaccine doses for teachers
In a statement, the California Teachers Associated said the governor's announcement is "an important step to ensuring teacher and school staff have access to the vaccine before opening school and work sites for in-person instruction."
On Thursday, state lawmakers proposed a $6.5 billion deal to reopen schools. The proposal would allow funding for schools and require public health departments to prioritize teachers returning to in-person learning for vaccines.
But it would also give districts the ability to delay reopening.
"We are continuing dialogue with the legislature, but the proposal was put out actually sets back the cause of safety reopening schools on a timeline that I think advantages the most vulnerable Californians in this state," Newsom said.
With more vaccines on the way and headed into the arms of educators, LAUSD parents may soon have the choice to send their children back to school. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said that if the vaccinations got going, he'd have the ability to reopen every elementary school to a quarter-million kids by April.
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