EXCLUSIVE: Kemp to announce new phase of COVID-19 vaccines to include teachers, sources say

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned the state of Georgia is preparing to announce an expansion into a new phase of COVID-19 vaccinations in a matter of days.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray confirmed through his sources on Tuesday that teachers and other school employees will be included in the expansion.

Gray’s sources said Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to make an official announcement in the coming days, and the expansion will go beyond the current 65-year-old age limit to include more vulnerable Georgians.

Since Jan. 11, Georgia has been in Phase 1a+.

It’s welcome news for Fulton County Spanish teacher Rachel Noto, who has been worried about potentially exposing her family to risk from her job.

“I am extremely looking forward to it. I’m just ready to be able to get some protection and just to get to some sort of normalcy in a time where it’s not very normal,” Noto said.

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The specifics of when and exactly who will be included in the new phase, as well as what it will be called are still being worked out.

It likely won’t be 1b yet.

But along with educators, we expect other more vulnerable Georgians to be included beyond the current 65 and older range.

In a letter to Atlanta Public Schools earlier this month, Kemp promised “as soon as we can expand the current vaccination criteria to include educators and school staff, we absolutely will.”

And at a news conference last week, Kemp announced they are working now with school systems to make sure they have a plan in place to vaccinate teachers when given the official go ahead.

“To ensure they have all defined a partner and are ready to get shots in arms quickly when we are ready to make that call,” Kemp said.

The official announcement with more details on when those shots will be going into arms is expected in a matter of days.