Highland Lakes school staff and childcare workers can now roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday, March 3, that people who work in schools and childcare operations are now eligible to be vaccinated.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directed states to expand vaccine eligibility to include those working in schools and childcare settings.
It’s something area school officials have been advocating for some time.
“We are appreciative that the state has recognized the vital contributions teachers have made during this pandemic by finally declaring them eligible for COVID-19 vaccines,” said Dr. Chris Allen, the Marble Falls Independent School District superintendent. He added that the state still has work to do to restore the trust between teachers and state-level decision makers during the pandemic.
The state and federal directive includes those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs. This encompasses teachers, staff, and bus drivers.
It also extends to those who work for licensed childcare providers.
In a March 3 letter to COVID-19 vaccine providers, Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state health commissioner, praised the work of those providers.
“Your efforts are greatly appreciated,” he wrote. “As of today, you have administered nearly 6 million doses to your fellow Texans, and more than 2 million are now fully vaccinated.”
Though providers should “immediately” begin to include school and childcare staff with those eligible for the vaccine, Hellerstedt said it’s important to continue to target older adults.
“This action does not change the other groups prioritized for vaccination in Texas, and I encourage you to continue your efforts to vaccinate older adults since the burden of COVID-19 falls so severely on people ages 65 and older,” he added.