TENNESSEE (WATE) — Teachers in Tennessee could get COVID-19 vaccines sooner than expected, as they’re a part of the Phase 1-B group for vaccinations in the state.

Tuesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey confirmed that teachers could be eligible to get vaccines within the next three weeks.

However, while Piercey reiterated that teachers are high on the priority list, she says seniors need to be vaccinated first.

“We have prioritized teachers very high on our list, right behind health care and the elderly. They’re prioritized more than anyone else on the list. We’ve also said, along with the CDC, teacher vaccination is not a prerequisite for getting back into the classroom.

So, we want teachers to be vaccinated soon, and I think we’re going to be able to move that timeline up. But right now, the responsible and loving thing to do in Tennessee is to get seniors vaccinated first.”

Dr. Lisa Piercey

Teachers are currently part of the group expect to be eligible for vaccination on March 1.

However, Dr. Piercey says the timeline could be moved up if the state gets a larger supply of vaccine doses before then.