'It’s about time': Teachers, child care owner react to Missouri COVID-19 vaccine announcement

Parson moves state to Phase 1B Tier 3 on March 15
Posted at 9:33 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 23:46:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced on Thursday the state will be moving into Phase 1B Tier 3 of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan on March 15.

That tier adds more than a half million Missourians who are eligible to receive the vaccine, including educators and other critical infrastructure workers.

Parson said one factor behind the decision to move on is the state's expected increase in vaccine supply.

"We expect to see a continued slow but steady increase in vaccine supply. We heard news this week that the pharmaceutical companies are increasing their production," Parson said at an afternoon news conference.

Teachers in the Kansas City area have been waiting for months to get the vaccine and told 41 Action News they're excited there's finally a date.

"Thank goodness that's it's coming now. I mean, we wish it would have been sooner but at least it coming, it's on the horizon," said Lee's Summit teacher Elaine McDonald.

"It’s about time," said Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools teacher Lydia Senate. "We understand that there's people who need it before us but we also know it's our time, too."

With an official timetable, school districts have partnered with health care groups to administer the vaccine to their staff.

"We can put a plan in place that allows teachers to be vaccinated in a central location per district, that makes the most sense to us as an association," said Todd Fuller, spokesperson for the Missouri State Teachers Association.

But it's not just teachers and staff who are eligible; grocery store workers, those in the agriculture industry and child care employees can get the vaccine in the new tier, too.

The owner of Tomlin Academy, Shantelle Tomlin, said she believes they should have been a priority and this announcement came a little too late.

"It should be yesterday," Tomlin said.

Tomlin said the staff are in contact with the public everyday.

"Everyone in this building is at risk for contracting COVID-19 on a daily basis," Tomlin said.

Educators hope those worries to be a thing of the past, with vaccines are on the way.

"There's going to be a lot of teachers who breathe a little bit easier knowing their students are protected and themselves and their families," McDonald said.