Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defended his decision to halt the vaccination of teachers in his state on Monday, arguing that immunity to COVID-19 among educators is not a prerequisite to safely reopen schools.
Kemp has come under pressure in recent weeks to expand the current phase of Georgia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout to include educators, but the Republican governor told “Your World” on Monday that he does not intend to push teachers under 65 to the front of the line.
“We know 65-year-olds are more adversely affected by COVID than those that are, you know, 45 or 50 or the teaching age,” Kemp told guest host Charles Payne. “It’s not that I don’t want to do it, but we’re really following the advice of public health officials.”
Kemp said he would “love to be vaccinating teachers right now,” but intends to allocate his dwindling supply of available doses to the “two million seniors and first responders and other folks that meet the current qualifications here in Georgia.”
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“Hopefully, we’ll be able to expand soon when we get Johnson & Johnson on board,” he said. “We want everybody vaccinated. But we’re following the guidance and the public health data right now.”
“We need more supply from the federal government,” he explained.
Kemp’s comments come after Georgia’s Department of Public Health raided a medical clinic last week and confiscated its COVID-19 vaccines when it was revealed that the clinic was administering the vaccine to teachers.
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Due to a limited supply of available doses in the Peach State, the vaccine is exclusively available to healthcare workers, first responders, and residents over the age of 65.
“If there’s 65-year-olds in the school system, they’re eligible to get vaccinated now,” Kemp said. “We would love to do teachers. But we’re following the data and the science and trying to protect the most vulnerable to the virus.”