After vaccinating more than 112,500 teachers and school staff in about three weeks, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the special vaccination initiative is a success and was completed ahead of schedule. The accomplishment, he said, will help more students and teachers safely return to classrooms across the state.
“This is a great success, and I am so proud of everyone who made it happen,” said Wolf. “We know that teachers and students want to be back in the classroom where students can learn, laugh and grow with their friends. Completing our special vaccination initiative is a big milestone for Pennsylvania, one that will better protect schools, families and communities.
“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to this pandemic, and with the completion of this special initiative, we are one step closer to the end of that tunnel. That is something for everyone in the commonwealth to celebrate.”
Shortly after the federal government approved the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use, Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced on March 3 a special initiative to provide a voluntary opportunity for Pre-K to 12 educators and school staff to be vaccinated. The Wolf Administration partnered with the state’s 28 intermediate units to rapidly establish vaccine clinics and conduct outreach to teachers and staff through school districts to schedule appointments.
“In less than one month, communities across Pennsylvania collaborated around the clock to vaccinate thousands of teachers and school staff; a truly remarkable and heroic effort,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “I am very grateful to Gov. Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force for creating this special initiative, and proud of our Intermediate Units, school leaders, state agency partners, the National Guard, and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare for their extraordinary work to coordinate this opportunity. We are now closer than ever to a safe, full return to in-person teaching and learning.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare swiftly coordinated hundreds of healthcare professionals at 28 vaccine clinics across the state to put the shots into arms. Many of the vaccine clinics were held on evenings and weekends so students could continue learning during the school day without interruption.