SAN ANTONIO – Texas teachers, along with school and child care staff, are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday.
The state’s directive follows a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that ordered states to expand vaccine eligibility to include those who work in schools or day care centers, according to a news release.
“The federal directive defined eligibility as “those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers) and those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers,” according to the news release.
Previously, only residents who were in the Phase 1A and Phase 1B categories were able to sign up for vaccinations. Those groups included frontline health care workers, people 65 and older and people 16 and older with underlying health conditions.
“This action does not change the other groups prioritized for vaccination in Texas,” state health department officials wrote in the news release. “Providers are encouraged to continue their efforts to vaccinate older adults since the burden of COVID-19 falls most severely on people age 65 and older.”
In response to the news, the Texas Education Agency said vaccination decisions should be left up to the individual and said school districts cannot mandate that employees get vaccinated.
For more information on how to sign up for the vaccine, click here.