Christus Pharmicist James Tyler prepares the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to be administered to a frontline worker at Christus Trinity Mother Frances.

COVID-19 vaccinations will now be available to Texas school and child care workers, according to an announcement from the Texas Department of State Health Services on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, the Texas 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.

The federal directive defined those eligible as people working “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 change in distribution does not change the vaccination priorities in Texas, which includes health care workers, people 65 or older and those 16 and older with a chronic health condition, the DSHS announcement read.

“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,” DSHS said.

On Wednesday, UT Health East Texas said in a statement health system officials are reaching out to area school districts to coordinate how to best serve the school’s needs and vaccinate the staff.

“UT Health East Texas already has given almost 15,000 first doses and 13,000 second doses to healthcare workers, first responders and high-risk individuals, and we look forward to continuing this important initiative in the fight against COVID-19,” the UT Health statement read.

Dr. Mark Anderson, chief medical officer for Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System, said Wednesday the health system is thrilled that school staff and child care workers can be vaccinated under the Department of Health and Human Services directive.

“This DHHS directive represents an expansion of people eligible to be vaccinated but does not create a new or separate process for vaccination,” Anderson said. “As vaccine supply increases, we are honored to do our part to help protect our community against COVID-19.”

Brookshire Grocery Co. has a wait list available at the company’s website, brookshires.com/covid-19-information, to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination.

If the BGC waitlist is temporarily suspended, Brookshire Grocery Co. said its team will get the list back up as soon as possible.


Multimedia Journalist

I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.