The vaccination rollout has gone slower than expected, but we’re encouraged that the county’s Health Department, along with area schools, are planning for vaccination clinics for school staff members.

On Jan. 17, we reported it’s still unclear when school staff will have the opportunity to get vaccinated but that county/school officials are starting to plan for clinics.

We hope the clinics come sooner than later. School teachers/staffers are essentially front-line workers, and we’ve previously editorialized in support of them being among the first to receive the vaccine.

As we reported, essential employees — including all teachers and school staff — are in Phase 1B-Tier 3 of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. This also includes people who provide contract services to schools, such as substitute teachers, bus drivers and therapists.

Tier 1, which includes first responders, emergency services and public health officials, was activated Jan. 14, and Tier 2, which includes Missourians who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, activated Monday.

The state’s vaccine supply will determine when Tier 3 is activated.

We hope the vaccine shipments can be expedited and that schools are ready when Tier 3 is activated.

But we’ll also repeat a previous plea: We urge everyone, especially teachers and school staff, to consult their doctors and to take their advice about getting the vaccine. We suspect that for most people, doctors will recommend their patients get vaccinated.

Staff members at different schools had varying interest in getting the vaccine, according to recent surveys. At Jefferson City’s public schools, 76.5% of respondents said they wanted to get the vaccine. At Blair Oaks and Helias Catholic High School, around half were interested. At Calvary Lutheran High School, only about 33% expressed interest.

Experts say it’s important to get vaccinated against COVID-19 even for people who already have had the virus. But, ultimately, we ask everyone to follow the advice of their doctors.

This was first published by the Jefferson City News Tribune and distributed by The Associated Press.

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