K-12 teachers and childcare workers in San Luis Obispo County are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting next week due to a recent push from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

San Luis Obispo County has chosen to honor Newsom’s mandate that counties allocate 10% of their vaccines to the education sector.

“That will not meet the needs of that entire sector,” County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in a county press briefing Wednesday. “But we are going to begin the process of taking care of our education and childcare sector.”

Vaccinating the education sector will be a priority going forward as schools look at the prospect of opening up in person more widely, according to Borenstein.

Other groups that are next to be vaccinated are farmworkers, emergency service workers and higher education workers.

The county’s task force is planning to set aside specific times for farmworker groups to get vaccinated, which is expected to start in two to three weeks, according to Borenstein. The task force expects to start vaccinating emergency service workers in one to two weeks because they are a smaller group.

Emergency services, education and food and agriculture workers altogether amount to about 70,000 people — a group the County was reluctant to start vaccinating until Newsom’s order.

“We didn’t want to open the doors far and wide for that many people while we are still working hard to get 65-year-olds and older vaccinated, that group being 38,000,” Borenstein said.

In the coming weeks, the county plans to allocate a proportionate amount of vaccine doses to those in the education and childcare sector.

A simplified registration process and a new lottery appointment system are set to roll out next week to select eligible residents who have registered online to receive an appointment if they have not been able to make one.

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