Council of the District of Columbia
Committee on Health
Public Roundtable: THE DISTRICT’S COVID-19 VACCINATION PROCESS
January 29, 2020
Testimony of Elizabeth A. Davis, President
Washington Teachers’ Union, AFT Local 6
Good afternoon. I am Elizabeth Davis, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU). The WTU represents over 5,000 active and retired teachers. We are dedicated to social and educational justice for the students of the District of Columbia and to improving the quality of support, resources, compensation and working conditions for the public servants and proud teachers who educate our students. Many of our WTU members live and pay taxes in the District and have kids or family members that attend DC schools. I am a DC teacher and DC resident.
I’d like to thank you for holding today’s hearing. The vaccination of our city’s resident’s is a critical step in emerging from this global pandemic. While I know that many are anxious about receiving the vaccine, I want to emphasize that we believe it is safe and effective. The WTU urges all citizens to receive the vaccine as soon as they become eligible.
While the vaccine presents a significant step in our recovery and a return to “normal,” we must recognize that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. In the District we have lost more than 900 of our friends and neighbors. Across the nation, more than 400,000 citizens have died from this deadly disease. While I know there is an urge to move forward quickly, we must recognize that it takes time for the vaccine to become effective.
On Tuesday, educators began receiving their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Following the schedule outlined by Rx companies, educators will NOT fully immunized until about a week after their second shots, which will occur about 3 weeks after their first, i.e., sometime between February 22 and March 4. Yet, we are embarking upon a massive reopening of our school system on Monday. A full three weeks before our staff are protected.