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Teachers Unions Unhappy With Baker's Decision To Move Senior Vaccines Ahead Of Educators

Massachusetts Teachers Union President Merrie Najimy speaks to the hundreds of members of the Massachusetts Teachers Union who attended the rally at the State House demanding Governor Charlie Baker to safely reopen schools. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Massachusetts Teachers Union President Merrie Najimy speaks to the hundreds of members of the Massachusetts Teachers Union who attended the rally at the State House demanding Governor Charlie Baker to safely reopen schools. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Leaders of the two statewide teachers unions are speaking out against the Baker administration's decision to move people between the ages of 65 and 75 up in the COVID-19 vaccine priority order ahead of teachers and other workers eligible for the shots because of the public-facing nature of their jobs.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts said in a statement that they expect the change could delay vaccination for educators "by several weeks or more."

"The governor keeps pushing schools to reopen for in-person learning more quickly, regardless of the risks to staff and students, yet he has just made it much harder to do that safely," AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos said.

MTA President Merrie Najimy said, "The Baker administration must do a better job of balancing the needs of people at risk because of age and other factors with recognizing that people working with students need to be vaccinated. We had not opposed the original prioritization list because it had a rational basis and promised to deliver vaccines to educators in February. Now, those hopes may be dashed."

The unions also want to see municipal librarians and higher education employees moved into Phase Two, along with K-12 and early educators.

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