Teachers and child care workers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, through the federal retail pharmacy plan.

Governor Janet Mills announced on Wednesday that Maine will align its vaccination plan to match President Biden's directive. All teachers and child care workers are now considered eligible to receive a COVID vaccination, despite their age. There are over 36,000 school staff members and 16,000 child care providers, statewide, who are now able to make vaccination appointments.

"Maine teachers, staff, and school administrators have been dedicated and diligent throughout the pandemic, offering more in-person learning opportunities than in most other states," said Pender Makin, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education in a media release. "We have already been working with DHHS and Maine CDC to plan local vaccine clinics for school staff age 60 and older and look forward to expanding eligibility to the entire education workforce."

These vaccinations will be available through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, that includes Walmart, Walgreens, and Hannaford pharmacies statewide. Residents age 60 and over, who already have appointments at these locations, will still have their appointments honored. The Maine Departments of Health and Human Services and Education will also continue their work to stand up dedicated vaccination opportunities for Maine school staff age 60 and older.

The Mills' Administration has also purchased 250,000 BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests that are prioritized for schools and child care providers to expand regular testing and support in-person learning. An additional $30.5 million in federal funds will also support children, families, and child care providers with affordable child care due to the pandemic.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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