Survey shows majority of educators in process of receiving COVID vaccine

Coronavirus

 LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Two-thirds of Michigan school employees are either vaccinated or in the process of being vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an online survey of MEA members.

Another third of the more than 22,500 respondents are waiting to get their first shot, with about 90% of educators overall wanting to receive the vaccine.

Half of those surveyed (50.0%) have received their first shot, with another 6.7% scheduled to do so. Another 6.4% have received both doses of the vaccine, with another 36.9% not yet vaccinated or scheduled to do so.

Of that group, the vast majority want the vaccine – as part of the full survey sample, just 6.9% of school employees responding do not plan to get the vaccine, with another 6.3% unsure.

“Our members see the vaccine as a critical component to reopening classrooms across the state, along with continued mitigation measures like masks, social distancing and sanitization,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “They are following the science and are embracing the vaccines’ potential for protecting their health and safety, as well as that of their students. While thousands of educators are still waiting to be scheduled for vaccination because of the short supply of the vaccine, these results show a great deal of progress.”

However, frustration with vaccine rollout is still very real among many educators. About 20% of MEA members have not heard from their employer about arrangements to get vaccinated by local health departments. The majority of those who have received shots or are scheduled to do so secured their appointment on their own (60.7%) as opposed to through their employer. Higher education faculty and staff are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

These survey figures are significantly better than results of a national survey released today by the National Education Association, which found just 18% of educators have been vaccinated.

“The state of educator vaccination in Michigan is much better than what we’re hearing from many other states, including many where educators have not been prioritized to receive the vaccine at all,” Herbart said. “We appreciate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decisive leadership in making PreK-12 school employees eligible for the vaccine and working to tackle the supply and distribution issues that many are experiencing. The governor’s words and actions show her commitment to keeping students and educators safe and continuing to make saving lives the top priority.”

The survey, conducted online from Feb. 2-8, was answered by 22,552 MEA members across the state, including PreK-12 teachers and support staff, higher education faculty and staff, student teachers and school retirees. While not a scientific sample, the responses were geographically representative of MEA’s statewide membership, which includes about 120,000 members spanning every Michigan county.

Other findings in the survey include:

·         Looking at county-level data where there were more than 100 responses, rates varied from a high of 88.1% vaccinated or scheduled in Marquette County to a low of 25.6% in Washtenaw County. (A detailed chart is included with the survey findings.)

·         Respondents included educators working in a variety of learning environments – 46.5% in person, 25.2% hybrid and 19.8% virtual (some of whose districts are offering in-person options but are working with students who’ve chosen virtual learning). Nationally, 64% are currently working in school buildings all or part of the time, per NEA’s survey.

·         School employees still have a very high level of concern about safety when it comes to in-person learning, with 42.2% very concerned, 36.5% somewhat concerned, 13.8% not very concerned, and 7.5% not at all concerned. It is worth noting that the overall intensity of concern has decreased since a similar question was asked on a November 2020 MEA survey – at the time, 56% were very concerned, 28% somewhat concerned, 10% not very concerned, and 6% not at all concerned.

Survey findings with charts and graphs can be found here.

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