The city of Atlanta is pushing to include teachers and other essential workers as part of the group of Georgians eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting Jan. 11, Gov. Brian Kemp expanded Phase 1A, the group of residents who could receive the vaccine to include first responders and residents 65 and older, in addition to the healthcare and other front-line workers and long-term care facilities’ residents and staff already eligible.

At its Feb. 15 meeting, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Atlanta City Council voted to approved a resolution asking the Georgia Department of Public Health to expand Phase 1A to include all essential workers identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee on immunization practices and to urge every eligible individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccination (Legislative Reference No. 21-R-3108).

The decision came one day before Atlanta Public Schools’ students in grades 6-12 returned to in-person classes after grades preK-2 and 3-5 came back to on-campus instruction Jan. 25 and Feb. 8, respectively. Some metro Atlanta teachers and their unions have expressed concerns over some school districts, including Atlanta’s, returning to in-person classes because of the possibility educators could contract the virus from their students.

But the list of essential workers allowed to get the vaccine, if the state expands Phase 1A again, would also include grocery store and postal workers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers and public transit employees.

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