UPDATED: Lambton education workers get priority for vaccines

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Lambton Public Health has decided teachers and other education workers will be getting priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The provincial guidelines did not include education workers in the second phase, however the president of the Lambton-Kent Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Laurel Liddicoat-Newton says Lambton Public Health has given education workers the okay to book appointments. She says the union, both locally and provincially, has been lobbying hard for the move.

All staff knew on April 1 they could register. Some, says Liddicoat-Newton, have already been vaccinated.

The rates of COVID-19 in Lambton in the classroom have been high, she says. At one point in March 66 per cent of the schools had cases of COVID-19 in the classroom. A number of schools have also closed because of the virus – one because there were not enough teachers to staff the classrooms.

Liddicoat-Newton, who will get her first vaccination this week, says it is a relief to be able to be vaccinated, particularly for elementary teachers. Little children, she says, have a hard time understanding the concept of social distance in the classroom.

At his press briefing today, Premier Doug Ford says the province is “working on a plan as well for the teachers” but as it stands in most parts of Ontario, teachers will be waiting until at least May.

“We have to get most vulnerable, the most elderly vaccinated..we have to go into the hot areas, the hotspots, targeting them,” he says. That includes essential manufacturers including meat factories and places like Amazon, Ford added.