New data from the CDC shows that more than 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March.
Teachers and childcare workers were prioritized for coronavirus vaccines in hopes of returning schools to in-person learning.
The Biden administration pushed states last month to make the vaccine available to teachers as the administration pledged to have schools reopened by the end of April.
But the CDC said that with proper social distancing measures, vaccinating teachers were not required in reopening schools. The agency said in areas of low community spread of the virus, schools could reopen with proper masking and ventilation.
“Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “CDC will build on the success of this program and work with our partners to continue expanding our vaccination efforts, as we work to ensure confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.”
The National Education Association said that while vaccinations are important, now is not the time to let up their guard.
"We welcome the push to provide for widespread testing and vaccination, and that all schools will have the funding they need to fully implement all of the mitigation measures consistently and with fidelity,” NEA President Becky Pringle said. “We are so close to being able to ensure that all our schools can be so much safer. But as public health officials have rightly cautioned, in the face of new variants and a race to make vaccinations widely available, this is not the time to let down our guard."
As of Tuesday, 32.6% of Americans are partially vaccinated from the coronavirus, while 19% are fully vaccinated.