ORLANDO, Fla. – CVS, Walmart and Publix have expanded their coronavirus vaccine eligibility guidelines to include all Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, school employees and other child care personnel after a call from President Joe Biden to get those workers inoculated by the end of the month.
Biden made the plea in hopes of reopening more schools while addressing the nation on Tuesday.
“Let’s treat in-person learning as the essential service that it is,” Biden said.
His administration noted that teachers would be able to sign up directly through participating retail pharmacies.
According to CVS’ website, 24 pharmacies in Florida can provide shots. Locations in Central Florida include Daytona Beach, Haines City and Lakeland. Appointments can be made here.
Previously, only those 65 and older were eligible, along with health care workers.
The website now lists openings for K-12 teachers and staff, day care workers and preschool workers.
“We’ve aligned with updated Federal Retail Pharmacy Program guidelines by making appointments available to pre-K through 12 educators and staff and childcare workers in all 17 states where we currently offer COVID-19 vaccines,” a CVS spokesperson said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Walmart also amended its website to include K-12 teachers and staff, day care workers and preschool workers with no age restrictions.
The company released the following statement regarding the change:
“We will administer vaccines to those eligible as determined by the state and federal governments. As patient eligibility requirements for COVID-19 vaccines expand, we will update our internal processes and online scheduling system to reflect those changes as quickly as possible.”
Proud to work with @POTUS to ensure ALL Florida teachers & child care workers are now ELIGIBLE for #COVID19 vaccine at @CVS, @Walmart, & local health depts. This is critical to protect our essential workers, schools & childcare centers! https://t.co/8w5lTrLQLd— Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) March 4, 2021
Publix soon followed suit, also expanding its eligibility requirements on Thursday to Florida teachers and child care workers of all ages.
While Gov. Ron DeSantis recently gave the green light to education workers who are 50 and over, the federal guidelines apply to any school staff, regardless of age.
The governor commented on the federal policy during a news briefing in Sebring Thursday afternoon.
“My order was 50 and up for teachers, and any school personnel, any fire, any police -- what the federal government has done is said, anybody that works in the school system regardless of age. So, they’re able to go in these federal pharmacy sites and the federal site -- you’re 22, and you’re a teacher, you can go get it,” Desantis said.
The governor added, “I’m not opposed to someone 20, 22 getting a vaccine, but if we want to save lives, we need to get all the seniors and so that’s what we’re -- that’s going to be our priority.”