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COVID-19 Vaccines Update

As the vaccine rollout continues in California, it is critical that education professionals have the tools to access vaccinations in a safe and timely way.

While we know that safety protocols like masks, social distancing, testing and tracing, and proper ventilation will still be necessary, the vaccine is an important step in our COVID-19 recovery. Both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the FDA and began rollout in December 2020. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has also been approved for widespread distribution and requires a single dose.

These vaccines offer a major step forward in the fight against the pandemic and will provide another layer of protection for educators and the broader population in general.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions CTA is hearing from members and the general public about the vaccine rollout.

Vaccination providers are administering the vaccine as it becomes available in a phased plan. The U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services directs all COVID-19 vaccination providers to make the vaccine available to those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers) and those who work as or for licensed childcare providers.

K-12 school staff nationwide also now have priority access to the vaccine through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.   This program provides an additional route for members to get a vaccine.

The NEA has put together this website that lists participating pharmacies in each state:   These are the pharmacies listed in California participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program:
  • CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
  • Rite Aid Corp.
  • Walgreens
  • Albertsons Companies, Inc. (including Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, Sav-On)

All Californians will be able to use a statewide system called My Turn to determine their eligibility to make an appointment. If not yet eligible, users have the option to leave their contact information to be notified when it is their turn. Note

[Updated: March 9, 2021]

Your county health department. You can find your county COVID-19 page here 

Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved COVID-19 vaccines with the following rigorous scientific standards. Understanding the gravity of the current public healthy emergency, the FDA has made vaccines available through their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) mechanism. EUA speeds up the process to make the vaccinations accessible as quickly as possible but does not “cut corners” on rigorous clinical testing. You can learn more about their process here As with any medical advice, we recommend you consult your personal physician.

Similar to other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccination’s common side effects may cause a sore arm, aches, fatigue or fever for a few days after getting the vaccine. Other adverse effects reported are rare but healthcare providers administering the vaccine have the necessary resources in the event of an adverse reaction. You can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website to learn more 

More: NEA Position on COVID-19 Vaccines NEA supports widespread use of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is available to people age 16 and older. Clinical trials are underway on children as young as age 12. The FDA predicts that the vaccine could be available to children in late 2021.  

“All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.” – Center for Disease Control. However, there is not yet enough data to be certain about the effect of the vaccine on the rate of COVID-19 transmission. The CDC recommends considering the vaccine as one layer of many we all need to be utilizing to end this pandemic. After you receive the vaccine, please continue to wear a mask, social distance, use best practices for hand-washing, etc  

Sick leave provisions vary by local contract, but in general, as with any other time you don’t feel well enough to work, sick leave would apply. We recommend working with your local Primary Contact Staff and chapter leadership with any specific questions about sick leave at your worksite.  

Please share when you receive your shot! If you feel comfortable, post to social media about your experience and urge others to join you. Add #ThisIsOurShot to your posts to join the national conversation.  

Educators’ Fireside Chat with Dr. Fauci Regarding Vaccines

Spread the Word! #ThisIsOurShot

Together, we can end this pandemic. Educators will be some of the first in our society to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Your voice is crucial to encourage your friends, families, and broader community to join you to get vaccinated.   

After you receive your COVID-19 vaccination, post to your social media channels about your experience and use the hashtag #ThisIsOurShot

Additional vaccine social media resources are available on the CDC website, too.


I just got vaccinated for COVID-19! Onward to healthy and safe communities. #ThisIsOurShot