Central Florida lawmaker pushing governor to prioritize school workers for vaccination

State Rep. Carlos Smith wants COVID-19 vaccines immediately available to school district employees

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A state representative from Central Florida is putting pressure on the governor to make COVID-19 vaccines available to teachers.

State Rep. Carlos Smith sent a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday asking that he revise the state’s list of priority groups to include “K-12 essential school district employees who are in direct contact with students.”

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In early January, Florida was vaccinating only three priority groups: Health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents and people 65 or older. The health care group includes EMTs and paramedics as well as Department of Health staff.

Smith’s letter went on to call for the immediate vaccination of school district employees 65 and older “who are currently in direct contact with students.”

The lawmaker pointed to Orange County Public Schools as an example, citing that the district has 875 district employees who are 65 or older with direct contact with students. Smith represents the 49th congressional district, which covers a large portion of Orange County, including the University of Central Florida.

Several school leaders in Central Florida have sent similar letters to the governor, urging him to give educators and school staff priority when it comes to vaccinations.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.