All school employees and licensed child-care providers are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, federal and state health officials have announced.
The extension applies to “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,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a federal directive.
In Texas, physicians, health care professionals, and anyone 65 and older or 16 and older with comorbidities are currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“This action does not change the other groups prioritized for vaccination in Texas, and I encourage you to continue your efforts to vaccinate older adults since the burden of COVID-19 falls so severely on people ages 65 and older,” John Hellerstedt, MD, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a letter to Texas vaccine administrators.
DSHS will update the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) Therapeutics and Vaccine Reporting Portal in the coming days to include the newly eligible group, Dr. Hellerstedt said.
All facilities that administer COVID-19 vaccines also must submit a daily report of doses administered into the TDEM portal. Facilities also must report to ImmTrac2 patient information for each vaccine administered within 24 hours of administration. In addition, facilities must submit requests, accept vaccine allocations, and report inventory for the COVID-19 vaccine via the Texas Vaccine Allocation & Ordering System (VAOS).
As of this week, almost 6 million Texans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19, and almost 2 million have been fully vaccinated, According to DSHS.
The Texas Medical Association continues to stress the importance of wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently, and receiving a vaccine when eligible as the most effective ways to stop the disease.