The Maine Education Association understands you have many questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. As the State works to acquire more vaccines, the MEA is working hard to learn more about how the process will work for our members, once vaccines are available. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and what questions you should ask as your district works to receive and distribute the vaccine. If you have questions, please reach out to your UniServ Director (your MEA field representative). You can contact him/her with our online form found here: https://maineea.org/contact-us/
What is MEA doing to help get educators the vaccine as soon as possible?
MEA has been seeking information regarding vaccinations since October and has followed the updates closely while continuing to ask when they would be available to educators. MEA has consistently been communicating with the Maine Department of Education, with legislators, and with the Governor about the importance of this.
In terms of timeline, where in line are public school employees and students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Educators and other school personnel are in Phase 1b and should receive vaccinations between February and April, according to the governor’s COVID-19 website. The exact timeline will depend on the availability of the vaccines.
Students age 16 and above who were not already eligible in a prior phase, will be vaccinated in Phase 2 beginning in June, according to the state plan.
Students under the age of 16 will not be vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control, because neither of the two approved vaccines has been okayed for people under 16.
How will I know when it is my turn to get the vaccine?
The Maine.gov vaccine webpage is maintaining a link where you can check on the latest distribution phase and vaccination sites. Additionally, according to the state’s vaccine FAQ page, your employer will let you know when it is available.
Educators will be vaccinated during Phase 1b which occurs between February and April. However, if you are age 70 or older, you are eligible to receive the vaccine now. A list of COVID-19 vaccination sites for people 70 and over is available here .
Who will communicate with me that it is “my turn” to receive the vaccine?
Specific timeframes for vaccinations under the governor’s phased plan and sites for vaccinations will be announced on the state’s webpage . Your employer should also announce the availability of the vaccine and schools are expected to act as delivery sites in the future, according to the Maine COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
Can I be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to work in a public school and would it be a mandatory subject of bargaining?
Possibly, but vaccination is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Please have your local leaders contact your MEA representative if your district plans to establish such a mandate and the representative will work with your local association to negotiate an agreement.
Will there be a cost to the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the MEA Benefits Trust:
At least in the short term, the cost of the vaccines, and ancillary supplies will be funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The CDC has indicated the vaccine purchased with US taxpayers’ dollars will be available at no cost.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), along with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury, require that fully insured and self-funded plans cover the vaccine and vaccine administration with no member cost-sharing for the duration of the public health emergency.
HHS does not cover the costs of vaccine administration for commercial or Medicaid members, but they will cover administration for Medicare beneficiaries, including Medicare Advantage members. Anthem health plans will cover those costs for fully insured, employer-sponsored customers and many Medicaid members unless otherwise directed by a state. Self-insured customers will be financially responsible for the administration fees.
CMS has announced the fees to administer the vaccines at pharmacies range from $16.94 for the first dose, $28.39 for the second dose and $28.39 for vaccines requiring one dose only.
For more resources and information visit Anthem’s coronavirus research center at https://www.anthem.com/coronavirus/.
Stay Safe and Stay Healthy,