Texas health officials have directed all coronavirus vaccine providers to immediately expand eligibility to K-12 and preschool teachers and staff, as well as child care workers.
“It’s just simply great news,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas division of the American Federation of Teachers. “We’re hoping that all of our educators that want the vaccine to take advantage of it, and as soon as possible.”
President Biden said on Tuesday that he would direct all states to “prioritize educators” and Tuesday night his acting secretary of Health and Human Services sent a letter to Texas officials doing just that.
The directive said states were “required” to add the following educators to the vaccine priority list: “[P]re-primary, primary and secondary schools; Head Start and Early Head Start programs; and those who work as or for licensed child care providers.”
Staff and bus drivers for any of these eligible fields are also part of the expansion, which is in addition to those already eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in phases 1A and 1B.
“This is going to be a huge piece of helping us stabilize our school system,” Capo said, “helping us get the focus back on students.”
State health officials have also asked providers to track the number of education and child care employees being given the shot as best they can.