(WLNS)– U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Haley Stevens (MI-11) are calling for COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts to prioritize teachers amongst the first of those to get access to the vaccine.
“One, they are front line workers. Two, if we don’t get kids back to school, we impact not only their academic careers, and we’re finding studies now showing in fact that kids are having trouble in online situations, virtual classroom situations. But also, if we don’t get kids back in the classroom, a lot of the employees that need to be back in the workforce aren’t going to be able return either,” Congressman Walberg said.
Dorcas Gonzalez Cordero, a teacher at Lansing’s Eastern High School said she agrees that teachers should be a part of that first wave.
“I do believe they should be included and any other type of service job that serves the community should have that same type of privilege and option,” Cordero said.
Although vaccines tend to be a controversial issue, Cordero said she believes it should be up to each individual.
“Just like when it comes to the flu vaccination, there are those who are always going to get it, they feel very comfortable with getting that vaccination and some of them are not and you never know. Some people are really for it, they do not want to go back to the building unless they are vaccinated, some parents feel the same way, but then there are many of those that also feel that they’ve never gotten a flu vaccination and they are concerned about taking this vaccination also,” Cordero said.
In a statement sent to 6 News, the Michigan Education Association wrote that they appreciate the recognition that educators and school employees are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“Just last month MEA members said their top priority is the health and safety of students and that they are concerned about whether they will be able to safely return to in-person learning in January. We trust, and hope, the federal government will take this into consideration as they determine where, when and to whom the vaccine will first be made available.”Liz Boyd, Spokeswoman for the MEA
Walberg said many Americans are against vaccine mandates, and while he doesn’t want to force a mandate, he believes the federal government needs to do what’s necessary to get the economy growing again and create a safer environment within the healthcare system.
“I certainly am not one that loves vaccines. I go kicking and screaming for a flu vaccine and the like, but I will take this vaccine when it’s ready to be administered at the very least to say to people, we believe it’s safe for the good of our country,” the congressman said.
Cordero hopes it doesn’t get to a point where people have to make a decision between something they might not be comfortable with and their job.
“For some people getting the flu shot might not be the best choice and for some people it is the best choice and I think that we need to keep that in the forefront and that Americans need to have the freedom to choice,” she said.