“I’m ready, I mean there’s nothing I can do, right?” said Kim Kalkus as she was about to receive her vaccine shot.
Kalkus, who teaches Spanish at the private Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove, waited her turn like all the other teachers in Florida.
"Sure, everyone would’ve like it earlier but here it is, we’re doing it, and we’re delighted about it,” Kalkus said.
Since Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the eligibility list for Covid vaccines last week to include teachers over age 50, Wednesday was the first day teachers who signed up could actually get their first doses of vaccine.
Kalkus has been teaching in person, and said she has not felt unsafe in the classroom but being vaccinated is still a big relief.
"I think all people who are working through the pandemic and are working with people should have the vaccine, definitely teachers,” Kalkus said.
“I’m excited to go back to teaching,” said Albert Stellmach, who was also on line at Jackson Memorial Hospital Wednesday to receive his shot.
Stellmach teaches music at Dr. Henry Perrine Academy of the Arts, a public school in south Miami-Dade County.
“Right now I’m only virtual, I’m staying at home and I’m one of those teachers that’s considered critical to stay home, so this could change my life to be able to come into school, and actually, I hate Zooming,” Stellmach said with a laugh.
He said his students have suffered learning gaps caused by distance learning.
Stellmach is among the first to get vaccinated in the “teachers over age 50” category, but according to President Biden, starting next week, all teachers and school staff, regardless of age, will be able to receive a Covid vaccine.
Already, CVS Pharmacy and Navarro pharmacies have begun offering appointments to K-12 teachers and staff with no requirement that they be over age 50.
"Today there is a lot of excitement because teachers are excited that President Biden has opened vaccinations for all K-12 teachers and this news has hit our schools in a very rapid way, we’re seeing slots being filled very quickly,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of United Teachers of Dade.