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COVID-19 vaccine for teachers, in-person and remote, raises 'ethical conundrum'

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Posted at 4:04 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 18:19:50-05

NEW YORK CITY — More than 3 million New Yorkers, including teachers, were given the go-ahead Monday to make an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

New York City educators now have two lanes to get the vaccine: booking an appointment through the United Federal of Teachers union or using the city’s website.

The UFT is working directly with health care providers to match educators to a vaccination location near them using their home address.

Speech therapist Danielle Bello booked her appointment through the UFT but says many teachers who are doing remote instruction are questioning who should be first in line to get the vaccine.

“There is an ethical conundrum because I’m not an in-person provider, however, the information you hear from doctors in society at large is if you have the opportunity to get the COVID vaccine, take advantage of it,” Bello said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said no school staff will be turned away, but Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza sent an email to everyone in the Department of Education saying in-person instructors at early childhood programs, elementary schools and District 75 schools take priority.

The UFT knows it could take months to get all educators vaccinated because of the low federal supply and slower than expected rollout.

The head of the teachers union is encouraging his 130,000 eligible members to get their shot because it will bring the school population closer to herd immunity and possibly enable middle and high schools to reopen for in-person learning.