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Press Release

NEA finds nearly half of educators have had at least one COVID-19 shot

More than three-fourths of public schools have educators in buildings
Published: 03/18/2021

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union representing nearly 3 million educators, conducted a second survey of members to learn about members’ vaccination rate and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey, which was conducted by GBAO Strategies, showed a massive increase in the number of members who have been vaccinated since early February.

The poll, which surveyed more than 3,000 members between February 26 and March 4, found that nearly half of members (49 percent) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 19 percent a month before. Here are the key findings:

  • 49% of educators have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • 51% of white members
    • 35% of Black members
    • 49% of Hispanic/Latino members
  • An additional 36% have scheduled, or intend to schedule, their vaccination.
  • 86% believe educators should be prioritized to receive the vaccine.
  • Most members (87%) are willing to work in-person if they are fully vaccinated.
  • There have been improvements in awareness of how to get vaccinated.
    • Among those who have been vaccinated or plan to be, 61 percent had some difficulty with scheduling compared to 67 percent in last month’s survey.
    • The percentage of members who found it very difficult to get scheduled declined from 46 to 34 percent.             
  • Members continue to favor a wide range of proposals to make school buildings safer, including near universal support for the following:
    • Requiring those who test positive to isolate according to CDC guidelines
    • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
    • Requiring masks and other PPE.
    • Improving school ventilation systems
  • Despite updated ventilation systems being a top safety need for educators and students, only 28% of members whose school buildings are open have improved ventilation systems. That number falls to 24% in high poverty schools.
  • 76% of educators’ schools have faculty currently working in school buildings all or part of the time (compared to 64% in February).

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:

No one wants to return to in-person learning more than the educators who have dedicated their lives to helping their students succeed. Since the vaccines were released, NEA and educators across the country have been advocating for educator priority to keep students, educators, and families safe. President Biden heard us and prioritized all educators earlier this month, and we applaud his leadership.

“While the vaccinations will certainly make educators safer and better able to protect their students and loved ones, they are just one part of the solution. We must ensure our schools have updated ventilation systems. We must provide our educators with the necessary PPE. We must continue to prioritize other mitigation strategies according to the CDC guidance including wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, healthy school buildings, and a system of testing, tracing, and quarantining.

“With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, we finally have the vital and comprehensive response to ensure schools have the tools needed to keep our students, educators and schools safe. With many of our school buildings across the nation already back to some form of in-person learning, we must remain vigilant if we are to ensure safe and just learning environments for all students and educators. We have an unprecedented opportunity to create the public schools all students need and deserve.”


Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.