Coronavirus

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CVS Is Listening To Biden's Guidance To Get All Teachers Vaccinated

The pharmacy chain says it's following vaccine distribution guidelines put forth by the Biden administration.

Teachers in Florida have found a surprising ally in their fight to protect themselves against the novel coronavirus: CVS Pharmacy. CVS is vaccinating Florida teachers under age 50, despite state regulations currently limiting vaccine eligibility to mainly older adults and those deemed medically vulnerable.

Currently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has only expanded vaccine eligibility to include, among other groups, K-12 school employees aged 50 or older, persons 65 years of age and older, and those under the age of 65 who have been deemed "medically vulnerable" by a physician.

A spokesperson for CVS tells Romper the pharmacy chain, which sources its COVID-19 vaccine supply directly from the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, is following vaccine distribution guidelines put forth by the Biden administration. "We've aligned with updated Federal Retail Pharmacy Program guidelines by making appointments available to pre-K-12 educators and staff and childcare workers in all 17 states where we currently offer COVID-19 vaccines," the spokesperson said. "As vaccine supply increases, we will increase locations and more appointments will become available."

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden directed states to prioritize school staff and child care workers in their rollouts of COVID-19 vaccinations, effectively challenging them to put the first dose of vaccines in the arms of all teachers, school staff, and childcare workers by the end of March. "We want every educator, school staff member, and child-care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of this month," Biden tweeted. "It's time to treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is."

To help states ramp up their vaccine distribution, Biden has directed the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to prioritize the vaccination of teachers, school staff, and child care employees throughout the month of March. Across the country, more than 9,000 pharmacies are expected to provide COVID-19 vaccination appointments to childcare workers and K-12 teachers and staff.

In Florida, some 80 CVS pharmacy locations spread across 13 counties began offering COVID-19 vaccinations for the first time in mid-February. At the time, Gov. DeSantis appeared grateful to have the pharmacy chain's help in rolling out vaccines. "These sites at select CVS Health locations will build on the progress we've made at existing retail sites and provide greater access to the vaccine in Florida's communities," DeSantis said last month in a statement announcing the CVS Health COVID-19 vaccination sites. "We look forward to the success of this partnership and will continue working to expand vaccine availability to Floridians."

In comments to 10 Tampa Bay, Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar said vaccinating teachers and school staff of all ages was "important for the protection of our teachers, our staff, our students" and characterized the president's recent efforts to prioritize education employees a step in the right direction. "The vaccine is one of the best ways to solve the challenges that we've had with COVID," Spar told the news outlet.

Romper has reached out to Gov. DeSantis for additional comment.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.