Teachers, school personnel, and child care personnel are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas DSHS said it notified all vaccine providers Wednesday that they should immediately include school employees and child care workers in administering their vaccines.
The state’s decision comes after DSHS received a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directing states to expand eligibility to include people who work in school and in care operations. children, including teachers and school personnel.
The federal directive defined eligible individuals as, “those who work in pre-primary, elementary, 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 in-center and family care providers. “
This action does not change the other priority groups for vaccination in Texas.
DSHS said vaccine providers are encouraged to continue their efforts to vaccinate older adults as the burden of COVID-19 falls most severely on those 65 and older.
Want to sign up for a vaccine waiting list?
As the state begins distributing COVID-19 vaccines for those in Phase 1A and 1B, county health departments have started waiting lists for those who wish to get vaccinated.
You can now register for the vaccine in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. The links are below:
Waiting list links: Collin – Search Waiting List | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant
You do not have to be a county resident to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county; Enrollment is open to anyone in Texas. For those without Internet access, Tarrant County is also taking records by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS Immunization Hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
Currently, the vaccine is only given to those who are in Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those in Phase 1A are frontline healthcare workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over 65 or those over 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for serious illness.
On March 3, the availability of vaccines was expanded to include school and child care workers.
Once vaccinated, people are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first injection, but full protection may not occur until a couple of weeks after the second injection. Even when fully vaccinated, it is possible to become infected with the virus, as the vaccine does not offer 100% protection.
Texas DSHS advises that the vaccine will not be available to the general public until late spring or early summer 2021.