Montana Educators Now Qualify for COVID-19 Vaccine Following Tester Push

Federal Retail Pharmacy Program now offers vaccines for teachers, school staff, and childcare workers

As part of his continued efforts to ensure that Montana schools can fully reopen as quickly and safely as possible, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that, following his efforts, school teachers and staff in pre-K-12 schools and childcare programs are now able to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. They can find the nearest pharmacy at to make an appointment.

These vaccines are not a part of Montana’s state allocations, instead coming from the Biden Administration’s Federal Retail Pharmacy Program which partners with pharmacies across the country to distribute vaccines as quickly and effectively as possible. On Monday, Montana will move into Phase 1B+ of its vaccination plan, but educators and other essential workers are still under Phase 1C.

“In my conversations with parents, students, and teachers across Montana, it’s clear we all share the same goal of getting our schools fully reopened as quickly and safely as possible,” said Tester. “That is why I fought to extend this initiative to ensure Montana’s teachers, school staff, and childcare workers can get vaccinated. I’ll continue to prioritize the safety of our students and educators as we fully reopen our schools.”

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase access to coronavirus vaccinations across the country. On March 2nd, following pressure from Tester and education advocates across the country, the Biden Administration announced a directive that all states prioritize school staff and childcare workers for vaccines, challenging states to get everyone in this group vaccinated by the end of March.

Tester has been working diligently to ensure that Montanans are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible. This week, he secured $20 billion for vaccine distribution in the COVID relief package making its way through Congress, and over the past few weeks has successfully pushed the Biden Administration to allocate significant increases in vaccine distributions to Montana.

Tester also fought tirelessly to secure $11 billion as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, including $156 million for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to accelerate research and development of treatment and vaccines, and to secure additional funding of $4.5 billion for vaccine distribution and administration in the December COVID relief package.