‘Get Ready’ plan will vaccinate Washington educators

OLYMPIA, Wash. — By teaming up with Kaiser Permanente, the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is gearing up to vaccinate educators throughout the state. Their hope is to ensure Washington’s teachers get vaccinated by the Summer.

Superintendent Chris Reykdal and Kaiser Permanente Washington president Susan Mullaney plan to launch the initiative as soon as teachers become eligible for vaccinations under Washington state’s protocols.

According to a news release on Friday, January 29, the ‘Get Ready’ program intends to vaccinate more than 80 percent of school employees in the state. They intend to launch between 14 and 20 locations along the I-5 corridor and in Spokane for eligible teachers and school faculty to be vaccinated. Officials say that planning efforts are taking place to assist those in Central Washington as well.

Vaccination efforts will be coordinated with the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center. The press release asks that school districts continue to follow their pre-existing vaccination plans as more details will arise closer to the launch of this initiative.

RELATED: Yakima schoolchildren donate to wildfire relief by learning math

By integrating the ‘Get Ready’ plan with pre-existing vaccination plans, program organizers hope to create a safer learning environment for educators. Reykdal believes in the positive impact this initiative can have in re-opening schools statewide.

“Knowing we needed a plan for vaccinating our 143,000 school employees, my first call was to Susan Mullaney and the Kaiser Permanente team,” Reykdal said. “Although our schools are already reopening safely without widespread vaccinations, we know this will expedite that process and ultimately benefit our students, their families, our educators and staff, and our communities as a whole.”

Kaiser Permanente will dedicate resources including space and tools associated with vaccinations to the effort at various clinics throughout Washington. Representatives from the company will also visit K-12 schools to provide vaccinations for both members and non-members.

RELATED: Local senior recounts her COVID-19 vaccination sign up struggle

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had this to say in regards to the initiative:

“This announcement does not allow educators to move ahead in the current prioritization, it means when it is their turn, we are ready to move ahead. I’m excited about today’s announcement and look forward to working with Superintendent Reykdal, Kaiser Permanente, and our labor partners as we continue our efforts to make sure our educators and school staff have rapid and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.”

First, the state is prioritizing healthcare workers and first responders. Currently in Phase 1B, Washington vaccinations are being administered to people age 65 and older or people age 55 and older who live in multi-generational households.

RELATED: Local teacher reacts to KSD’s decision to return for hybrid learning

RELATED: Inslee loosens re-opening restrictions; our region remains in Phase 1

RELATED: Benton County vaccination site speeding up despite administering fewer shots