Teachers, school staffers 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 they notified all vaccine providers Wednesday they should immediately include school employees and child care workers in their vaccine administration.
The state's decision comes after the 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 child care operations, including teachers and school staff.
Got a question about the COVID-19 vaccine? Get the answers here in our FAQ.
The federal directive defined the people eligible 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.”
This action does not change the other groups prioritized for vaccination in Texas.
The DSHS said vaccine 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.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.
In Texas, the COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of 12. The vaccines are still not approved for children younger than 12 however -- those trials are ongoing.
Once vaccinated, people who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. For those who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- there is only one shot needed. Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since none of the vaccines offer 100% protection from infection. With that in mind, even if you've been vaccinated it's still a good idea to wear a mask and keep some separation between strangers or those whose vaccination status is unclear.