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Coronavirus vaccines arranged for Hillsborough teachers 65 and up

School leaders want all educators to receive preference for getting the shots.
Seniors Debbie Vanderkuip and her husband Rick Vanderkuip, of Niagra Falls, Canada, right, check in with RN Trina Owens, center, at the Clearwater Health Department, 310 N. Myrtle Ave., on Tuesday, Jan. 5. 2021, in Clearwater, where they were seeking appointments to receive the first of two shots containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as part of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County's distribution plan.
Seniors Debbie Vanderkuip and her husband Rick Vanderkuip, of Niagra Falls, Canada, right, check in with RN Trina Owens, center, at the Clearwater Health Department, 310 N. Myrtle Ave., on Tuesday, Jan. 5. 2021, in Clearwater, where they were seeking appointments to receive the first of two shots containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as part of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County's distribution plan. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jan. 20
Updated Jan. 20

With teachers continuing to advocate for preference in receiving coronavirus vaccines, the Hillsborough County School District on Wednesday announced plans to make the vaccine available to its older employees.

Through a partnership with the Florida Department of Health and Tampa General Hospital, employees 65 and older can be vaccinated at designated times and locations.

Eligible are teachers, administrators, bus drivers, custodians, student nutrition workers and other school-based staff, as long as they meet the state age guidelines for preference.

Employees who qualify will be directly contacted by Tampa General to make an appointment either this Friday or Saturday.

A similar announcement came from the Pinellas County school district on Tuesday.

In December, superintendent Addison Davis and School Board Chair Lynn Gray sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis urging him to include all educators in the next round of vaccinations.

“Rest assured that I will continue to advocate for all preK-12 educators to be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Davis said in a written statement. “Each time one of our dedicated employees contracts COVID-19, it jeopardizes the health of our organization and diminishes the quality of the educational experience for our students.”

Since school opened on Aug. 31, the district has reported 1,310 cases of COVID-19 among staff. It is not known how many were contracted in school, and district officials say a great majority of school and staff cases result from contact at home and in the community.

With students included, Hillsborough has reported 3,780 cases.