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California to set aside 10 percent of vaccines for educators

California to set aside 10 percent of vaccines for educators

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J A-OK, Tanden in Trouble California law will send 0 direct payments to low-income residents Democrats look to improve outreach to Asian and Latino communities MORE (D) announced Friday that the state will set aside 10 percent of first doses of coronavirus vaccines for educators. 

Newsom touted that 35 of California’s 58 counties “currently are prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and educators," but noted that “we want to operationalize that as the standard for all 58 counties in the state.”

“Effective March 1, not only are we doing that through our third party administrator, but we are also setting aside 10 percent of all first doses beginning with a baseline of 75,000 doses every single week that will be made available and set aside for those educators and childcare workers that are supporting our efforts to get our kids back into in-person instruction,” he said at a press conference.

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The remarks come as cases decline overall in California but remain at high levels. There have been more than 3.4 million infections in the Golden State since the pandemic began, and 5,573 were detected Thursday alone, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

California is ramping up its vaccine distribution, with Newsom noting that 6.9 million shots have been administered in the state thus far. California hit a single-day record number of doses administered Thursday when 264,000 shots were given.

“The only constraint to substantially increasing our administration of doses is the constraint on manufactured supply, both of Moderna and Pfizer, as well as the expectation of new supply coming online as soon as next month … with Johnson & Johnson in a single-dose vaccine.” 

Newsom noted that more doses can be reserved for teachers because of “the window of visibility into the future with more vaccinations that we know are now coming from the Biden administration.”

California received 1.38 million vaccine doses this week and will obtain 1.4 million next week and 1.5 million the week after, according to Newsom.

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The governor’s Friday announcement comes amid a fierce national debate over reopening schools. Republicans have called for a more rapid timeline for schools to have in-person classes, while Democrats, lobbied hard by teachers unions, have advocated for a more cautious approach.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this month it is "critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible," given the benefits of in-person learning. CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyNew COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents fell 80 percent in a month Poll: Majority say teachers should be vaccinated before reopening schools New Yorkers should double mask until at least June, de Blasio says MORE also earlier said that “the science has demonstrated that schools can reopen safely prior to all teachers being vaccinated” for the coronavirus.

The White House said this week that President BidenJoe BidenBiden 'disappointed' in Senate parliamentarian ruling but 'respects' decision Taylor Swift celebrates House passage of Equality Act Donald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' MORE does not believe that it should be required that teachers get vaccinated before they return to school.