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Mass. Funeral Home Workers, Teachers Pushing To Be Added To Phase 1 Of COVID Vaccination Plan

ROSLINDALE (CBS) – With Phase I of the state's vaccine rollout plan underway, there's a growing demand from several industries to get a dose before the general public.

Joseph Russo has been running his funeral home in Roslindale for more than half a century.

In a pandemic, the 70-year-old and his staff have had the tough job of coming into contact with the deceased, going into hospitals, nursing homes and private residences.

"When families can't go in and a death happens, we have to go in," Russo said.

And because of the risks, Russo is joining the push to get funeral directors and staff vaccinated now, alongside first responders – or they'll have to wait until March.

"Understand that we provide an essential role, and we should be in that first category," said Russo.

He's not the only one eager for the COVID-19 shot.

K-through-12 educators want their vaccines sooner, too, since they'll be working directly with students in-person.

"Every day that passes is a day that kids aren't in the classroom," said Rockland Schools Superintendent Alan Cron.

Cron is among several other South Shore superintendents who've called on the Governor to release their coronavirus vaccines ahead of Phase II, so they can get it into the arms of teachers with no delays.

"We have freezers. We have nurses. We are ready to go," said Superintendent Cron. "We have the capacity. Getting teachers back, getting kids back to school full-time is a priority."

In turn, the group of superintendents believe it'll free up space at the mass vaccination sites planned for Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

The demand for doses is undeniable, but both Russo and Cron told WBZ-TV they don't want to fight over the vaccine supply. They simply want to do their jobs safely.

"The vaccine is our best shot, so let's do it now," said Cron.

Gov. Baker recently allowed non-COVID facing workers like dentists and chiropractors to be included in Phase 1 if they choose to be.

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