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Washington teachers booking appointments after becoming eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Teachers responded with relief after becoming eligible for vaccination, a number of them were already able to book an appointment for a shot.

WOODLAND, Wash. — President Joe Biden is directing states to get teachers vaccinated by the end of the month. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded Tuesday by making educators eligible. And it wasn't hard to find praise for moving teachers into the eligible group for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it's great. The kids need to get back to school. The importance of being in class and having the students safe and the teachers safe is spot on,” said Kathy Leonard, who is a grandmother and former teacher.

The new eligibility is big news for educators in Clark County and other nearby counties.

Educational Service District 112 works with 30 school districts in Southwest Washington. It is working out a plan to get 15,000 K-12 educators vaccinated as soon as possible. For now, the districts will coordinate with current providers and count on continuing increases in vaccine doses to accommodate adding these essential workers.

“For families to be able to go back to work, they also have to be able to have school in-person and child care. And so that’s all part of the same large group that we are working to vaccinate in this phase,” said Monique Dugaw with ESD 112. 

RELATED: Teachers relieved they can now receive the COVID vaccine in Washington

For Woodland High School English teacher Heather Gordon, Wednesday was day two of having students back in class part-time with hybrid learning.

“It’s great. So awesome. It’s amazing,” Gordon said about having students back in class.

When she learned she was eligible on Tuesday, she looked for a vaccination appointment -- and got one. And many of her coworkers did as well.

Gordon said she and her colleagues are excited to have kids in the classroom, and the timing on vaccinations was welcomed.

“To have that message come through on the day we got students back in the classroom couldn’t be better timing. So awesome. I mean, my phone started to blow up last night, every colleague (saying) ‘we can get vaccinated. Try this site, try this site. I got on, I got an appointment’… It was great timing.”

The initial success booking appointments for a number of educators seems to be an indicator of more available vaccine doses. And that is also good news for anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated right now in Clark County.

RELATED: Reporter roundtable: How the vaccine rollout is going in 6 states