PROVIDENCE — In vaccine distribution plans for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, teachers under the age of 65 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. But at all CVS retail pharmacies administering the vaccine, teachers became eligible as of Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday night, President Biden called on states to begin prioritizing teachers and related staff as essential workers in the vaccination schedule, and called for grade-school employees and child-care providers to receive at least one dose of the vaccine at some point by the end of the month.
“As yet another move to help accelerate the safe reopening of schools, let’s treat in-person learning like an essential service that it is,” said the president. “And that means getting essential workers who provide that service — educators, school staff, child-care workers — get them vaccinated immediately.”
He said, “They’re essential workers.”
Matt Blanchette, a spokesman for CVS, told the Globe on Wednesday that the company is aligning with updated Federal Retail Pharmacy Program guidelines by making appointments available to pre-K through 12th grade educators and staff and child-care workers in all 17 states where the retail pharmacy currently offers COVID-19 vaccines, which includes Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Those looking to sign-up for a vaccine on CVS’s vaccine portal won’t be asked to upload employment verification or teaching credentials. They will have to give their age, identify which priority group they are in, and type in the name of their employer.
Retail pharmacies are getting vaccine directly from the federal government and from states participating in the pharmacy partnership. Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for Rhode Island’s health department said Wednesday that this change by CVS is with the vaccines they are receiving through their federal partnership, not the states.
“The Rhode Island Department of Health will make announcements about any changes to eligibility at other locations throughout the state, as usual,” Wendelken said to the Globe.
While it remains unclear if Biden’s call will push Rhode Island to prioritize vaccinating teachers as part of the state’s vaccine rollout, newly sworn-in Governor Daniel J. McKee has said that he wants to start vaccinating teachers by the end of March.