The intense relief is palpable: New York City public school educators who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus have shared pictures of themselves being immunized or holding their proof of vaccination cards.
As of April 7, about 35,000 UFT members employed by the Department of Education had been matched with vaccine providers through the UFT vaccine program, which supplements city and state vaccination programs.
The UFT reached an agreement with two major health care systems to expand access to the vaccine to UFT members who on Jan. 11 became eligible as educators. The program was established at a moment when vaccines were in short supply and mismanagement of the city’s program had left thousands of doses sitting on the shelf.
“Our goal was to make immunization a quick, easy and safe process for all school-based members who wanted it,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “We believe broad-based vaccination is the best way to protect our school communities and get us out of this pandemic.”
It’s not too late to get your shot through the UFT vaccine program. The program is open to all UFT members who work in schools. You can sign up even if you do not live in New York City. Call the UFT Vaccine Hotline at 212-701-9677 for assistance.
Priority was originally given to in-service members who have an in-person school assignment, but with more vaccines available, everyone is receiving a match more quickly. A match is made only when the union has identified a vaccine provider with available vaccines so members do not have to fear that their appointments will be canceled.
The program matches members with NYU Langone Health or EmblemHealth’s AdvantageCare Physicians and BronxDocs. All in-service members were emailed an online survey in early January to determine their school assignment, their location, willingness to travel and their interest in receiving the vaccine. The union negotiated paid release time if a member was unable to schedule an appointment outside work hours.
The city Department of Education reports that as of the first week of April, 65,000 employees in all had been vaccinated, a number that includes pedagogical and nonpedagogical staff. There are 147,000 DOE employees citywide.
Visit www.uft.org/vaccine-FAQs to find answers to questions about the UFT program and the vaccine in general.