Educators react to governor’s announcement regarding teacher vaccine eligibility

Educators react to governor’s announcement regarding teacher vaccine eligibility

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Wednesday afternoon that people working in education will soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cooper said individuals working in education and childcare will be eligible to get the vaccine starting Wednesday, February 24.

“Educators will be the first members of Group 3 to be eligible to receive this vaccine as frontline essential workers,” said Cooper.

He said the prioritized educators include teachers, principals, childcare providers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and other education workers.

WBTV spoke with two different educators Wednesday night, asking each about the governor’s announcement.

Meagan Barger, a math teacher at East Mecklenburg High School, said she was excited to hear the eligibility announcement.

“I want the vaccine because I want to feel safe at my job. I want my students to feel safe around me,” said Barger.

The high school math teacher said she is eager to get back to in-person learning with her students, but safety is a concern.

“I absolutely miss being in-person. I want nothing more than to be in-person. I also want that to be safe and so the vaccine, to me, is that key difference between being in-person and also being safe,” said Barger.

She said she had already called Atrium Health to schedule an appointment to get her first dose of the vaccine.

While Barger is eager to get vaccinated, some educators are still skeptical about the vaccine. Rebecca Eudy, a teaching assistant at Cabarrus Charter Academy in Concord, said she would not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I don’t want to feel forced into getting it because if I’m like a healthy person, I don’t feel like I have to get it,” said Eudy.

When asked if she feared any backlash for refusing to get vaccinated, Eudy responded, “There could be some backlash, but you know, if it becomes my freedom or my job and the safety of my kids, I will quit. I will lose my job and that’s because I am not gonna be for something, and be pushed to do something that I don’t feel comfortable with.”

Cooper has continued to encourage North Carolinians to get vaccinated. He reiterated the message Wednesday afternoon.

“Now I know that people are frustrated and more than ready for their vaccine. Everybody should get one and it’s important,” said the governor.

Cooper also explained that teachers won’t be eligible until February 24 because he wants to give healthcare providers more time to vaccinate people in the state’s current vaccination stage.

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