Kamala Harris says teachers SHOULD get priority for vaccination but schools should open regardless as she calls 2.5 million women thrown out of work by COVID a ‘national emergency’
- Vice President Kamala Harris told the ‘Today’ show on Wednesday that ‘teachers should be a priority’ in getting the coronavirus vaccine
- Regardless of whether they are vaccinated, she said, schools should still reopen
- Harris also said the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would fast-track school reopening and help get women back to work
- She claims the 2.5 million women put out of work by the pandemic is a ‘national emergency’ in itself
Kamala Harris said Wednesday that ‘teachers should be a priority’ in getting the coronavirus vaccine as the push continues to get kids back to the classroom – but the vice president claimed schools should reopen regardless of if teachers are vaccinated.
‘Teachers should be a priority along with other front line workers and we’re going to make them a priority,’ Harris told NBC’s ‘Today’ show in reference to many states keeping teachers lower on the vaccination priority order than front line workers like medical employees, firefighters and law enforcement.
Harris said the $1.9 trillion relief package being worked out in Congress right now would help get schools back open, while also addressing the issues of 2.5 million women put out of work by the pandemic, which she claims is a ‘national emergency’ in itself.
‘This is a big problem, I mean the issue of 2.5 million women out of the workforce is a national emergency as far as I’m concerned. So a national emergency – a big problem – requires a bit solution,’ Harris told NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie.
Many of these women were put out of work by school closures, as some had to ease up on their careers to take over the at-home and virtual education of their children in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The vice president remained on-message during her live interview with Guthrie, keeping her focus on the latest bailout bill and reassuring teachers they should go back to school.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday that ‘teachers should be a priority’ in getting the coronavirus vaccine, but said regardless of whether they are vaccinated, schools should reopen
Harris was on TV to promote the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which she claims would help get schools back open, while also addressing the issues of 2.5 million women put out of work by the pandemic, which she claims is a ‘national emergency’ in itself
Harris dodged several other questions thrown her way in the Wednesday morning interview, including refusing to weigh in as a former prosecutor on whether Donald Trump could face criminal prosecution for his actions related to the January 6 Capitol attack.
‘You know, right now I’m focused on what we need to do to get relief to American families and that is my highest priority, it’s our administration’s highest priority,’ Harris said when asked about the current rift in the Republica Party.
That didn’t stop Guthrie from pushing the issue to get Harris to deviate from her talking points.
Harris didn’t budge, responding: ‘I haven’t reviewed the case through the lens of a prosecutor, I’m reviewing the case of COVID in America through the lens of being the Vice President of America.’
Biden’s vice president reiterated that the administration’s goal is to get as many Kindergarten through 8th grade students back to in-person learning within the first 100 days of his administration.
‘Our goal is that it would be five days a week,’ Harris continued as other comments have suggested it would only be one-day-per-week in-person classes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not made it a requirement for teachers to get vaccinated before they return to the classroom.
‘Can you reassure teachers listening right now that it is safe to go back to school even if they are not vaccinated if these public health measures, like distancing and masks, are being implemented,’ Guthrie asked Harris.
‘Well, I think that we have to decide if we can put in place safe measures,’ the vice president said.
‘It’s going to be safer for our schools to reopen when we can get our schools the infrastructure needs like helping them with their ventilation systems, helping them create social distancing with barriers – the things that are necessary to get them opened in a safe way,’ she said in making the argument for the passive of the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Some teachers remain hesitant to return to teaching their students in-person if they do not first receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19.
States have introduced tier programs for vaccination distribution that lists priorities for who can get the shot at what point in time. At the top of every state’s list is front line and healthcare workers.
Beyond that, the priority list varies from state to state.
Biden’s administration maintains his goal of getting 100 million vaccines in the arms of Americans in his first 100 days is on track for success.
The president and vice president will meet with labor leaders Wednesday to discuss the American Rescue Plan, which is continuously expanding and could require Harris’ tie-breaking vote in the Senate to pass.