Gov. Baker, MTA Go Head To Head Over Vaccine Rollout For Teachers

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Gov. Charlie Baker expressed frustration Thursday following a morning meeting between his office and the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Gov. Baker said the teachers were "looking for their own vaccine" during the meeting, and that he would not "take vaccine away from people who are extremely give it to a targeted population." He made the comments during a briefing with the press.

In a separate press release, the Baker Administration said it was "dismayed" that the teacher's union continues "to demand the Commonwealth take hundreds of thousands of vaccines away from the sickest, oldest, and most vulnerable residents."

However, Massachusetts Teachers Association President Merrie Najimy said the Baker Administration is misrepresenting what the union is asking for.

She told WBZ NewsRadio that "this is the Baker Administration reaching a new height of dishonesty and irresponsibility by misrepresenting what was said at the meeting to pit educators' unions against families and communities."

Gov. Baker announced Wednesday that educators would have four designated vaccination days at the state's mass vaccination sites. Najimy said the union wanted to have teachers and staff vaccinated at their own schools, by firefighters and EMTs, which is an approach called the "Last Mile Model."

The Baker Administration said this approach would make the state's vaccine distribution "slower, less equitable, and far more complicated." Najimy said the MTA doesn't want to take doses away from other people — just to have doses already designated for teachers given out inside schools.

In a statement, the MTA said that "the decision to force schools to open to many more students starting April 5 is poorly timed with the vaccine rollout. Under the administration's schedule, students will be crowding back into our school buildings, bringing them to full capacity before most educators will have had the change to be vaccinated." Gov. Baker pushed back at his press conference, saying "even the CDC says teachers don't need to be vaccinated to be educating kids."

Teachers, childcare workers, and other school staff in Massachusetts became eligible Thursday to get their coronavirus vaccine.

WBZ's Karyn Regal and Kim Tunnicliffe have more on this story:

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(Photo: Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio)

Written by Chaiel Schaffel

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