Members of the Omaha Council, school board, call for the COVID-19 vaccine to be a priority for teachers

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Two members of the city council along with two members of the local school board sent a letter asking the Douglas County Health Department to prioritize teachers and school staff on discretionary COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Other health districts in Nebraska have been reserving cans for school workers in the past few weeks,” the letter said.

Councilors Brinker Harding and Aimee Melton signed the letter with Spencer Head and Mike Kennedy, school members of Omaha Public Schools and Millard Public Schools, respectively. Harding and Melton recently proposed an amendment to raise the children’s age limit for the city’s face mask ordinance and previously voted against the mask ordinance.

“We do not require that anything assigned to teachers be school employees. We only ask for a certain amount of 10%, ”said Brinker Harding.

Dr. DCHD health director Adi Pour said in a written response to 6 News Monday that the health district expects the next three categories of Phase 1B priorities – utility workers and corrections and homeless workers – to be “within the next week or so” . Put educators next.

“Educators in (Douglas County) have not yet been vaccinated unless they belong in a different category based on age,” Pour said.

Once the seniors have received their allotted doses, Pour said the health department plans to shift more vaccinations to teachers and school staff.

Mike Kennedy is on the Millard School Board. Millard has been open to personal school since the fall.

“I don’t say all teachers because there is only a limited offer. My wife is a teacher. She is young and healthy and doesn’t need it right now. But we have teachers in our sixties and other health problems – if vaccines become available, our district can get them vaccinated quickly, ”said Kennedy.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has stated on numerous occasions that he is requiring local health counts to use 90% of their COVID-19 vaccine allocations for people 65 and older, but are free to distribute the remaining 10% at their own discretion. According to Pour, 10% for Douglas County is roughly 700-800 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week.

“Allocation for educators is based on a fair and equitable distribution in Douglas County, including public, private and church school districts,” Pour said. “The prioritization between school districts and schools is developed by the superintendents together with the DCHD.”

The letter to Dr. Pour comes days after the Nebraska State Educators Association sent a similar request to the governor.

Under the Phase 1B priority grid established by the Nebraska Department of Health, Douglas County first prioritized first responders and then included supply workers who were eligible for leftover doses from vaccination clinics.

The resolution will be negotiated in the city council next Tuesday.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect COVID-19 vaccine assignment overall. 6 News regrets the mistake.

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