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Teachers and child care providers now eligible for COVID vaccine, but 1B still a priority for Texas

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By Kristen Meriwether, Editor LPR

The Texas Department of State Health Services notified all vaccine providers on March 3 that they should include school and child care workers in their vaccines beginning immediately. 

The move comes after the acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran, directed vaccine providers nationwide to make vaccines available for 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. 

Texas DSHS said the action does not change the prioritization for Texas, saying in a statement, “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.”

There was nothing in the release about how or where teachers can sign up to receive the vaccine. It is assumed they should sign up using the same portals as the 1B population (65 and older), however, with the state encouraging providers to vaccinate older adults first, it is unclear if teachers being “eligible” will actually result in their being selected to receive a shot.  

Vaccine rollout continues to be a slow process in Texas with only 1.7 million (5.8 percent) of the state’s 29 million residents being fully vaccinated so far. With only two vaccines available for the first two months of the year—Pfizer and Moderna—supply far exceeded demand.

But the Food and Drug Administration just gave emergency approval to the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine on Feb. 27, supply is expected to increase quickly in the coming months. 

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