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Health

Essential workers not given vaccine priority asking why not us too? – WCVB Boston

Massachusetts teachers can now circle next Thursday, March 11 on their calendars, marking the day they’ll first become eligible to schedule vaccine appointments.The other groups designated as essential workers — including retailers, grocery store employees, transportation workers and funeral directors — will still have to wait.After President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he wanted every educator, school staffer and child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker moved them up the state’s priority list, saying he wanted to avoid the confusion that could arise from different federal and state eligibility.The move will make about 400,000 people newly eligible, and Baker said it will “mean we’ll be back to having about a million people who are eligible to receive a vaccine” while intense demand for the vaccine continues to hover well above the state’s supply of doses from the federal government.Unions representing grocery store workers and transit workers are among several groups angry the group of workers they represent won’t receive preferential access to the coronavirus vaccine.”Coming to work, putting themselves and family at risk every single day,” Jim Evers, president of Carmen’s Local 589 said. Given the 24 hour shifts for transit workers, special early vaccine access could be the only fast track for them.”This could take months and months for operators to be vaccinated,” Evers said. “Not only is it for the safety of our members, it’s for the safety of the public too.”The MBTA had even prepared its own Quincy vaccination site. “It’s a broken promise,” Evers said. “The governor stated we would have this site in play for our members too.”Prioritizing high-risk populations means prioritizing essential workers, the Stop and Shop union president says. “Talk about Dorchester, talk about Roslindale, talk about Hyde Park, these are places where we have Black and Brown communities, residents that work in our stores,” Fernando Lemos, president of UFCW 1445 says. “It’s a double standard.”

Massachusetts teachers can now circle next Thursday, March 11 on their calendars, marking the day they’ll first become eligible to schedule vaccine appointments.

The other groups designated as essential workers — including retailers, grocery store employees, transportation workers and funeral directors — will still have to wait.

After President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he wanted every educator, school staffer and child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker moved them up the state’s priority list, saying he wanted to avoid the confusion that could arise from different federal and state eligibility.

The move will make about 400,000 people newly eligible, and Baker said it will “mean we’ll be back to having about a million people who are eligible to receive a vaccine” while intense demand for the vaccine continues to hover well above the state’s supply of doses from the federal government.

Unions representing grocery store workers and transit workers are among several groups angry the group of workers they represent won’t receive preferential access to the coronavirus vaccine.

“Coming to work, putting themselves and family at risk every single day,” Jim Evers, president of Carmen’s Local 589 said.

Given the 24 hour shifts for transit workers, special early vaccine access could be the only fast track for them.

“This could take months and months for operators to be vaccinated,” Evers said. “Not only is it for the safety of our members, it’s for the safety of the public too.”

The MBTA had even prepared its own Quincy vaccination site. “It’s a broken promise,” Evers said. “The governor stated we would have this site in play for our members too.”

Prioritizing high-risk populations means prioritizing essential workers, the Stop and Shop union president says.

“Talk about Dorchester, talk about Roslindale, talk about Hyde Park, these are places where we have Black and Brown communities, residents that work in our stores,” Fernando Lemos, president of UFCW 1445 says. “It’s a double standard.”

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