Texas Teachers Now Eligible for Covid-19 Vaccination

Everyone wants to reopen schools safely. Why did this take so long?

Teachers in Texas are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccination. Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) released new guidance moving teachers up to the 1B category.

The Biden administration sent all states notice to change the vaccine categories. According to a DSHS news release, Texas vaccine providers may now vaccinate teachers and childcare workers.

Educators who work in all school systems and those employed in daycare centers and Head Start programs are eligible for vaccination.

Covid-19 vaccination access is improving. The enactment of the defense production act allows pharmaceutical giant Merck to help Johnson and Johnson to produce the Janssen vaccine in massive amounts. We are on track to provide vaccines for every adult American by the end of May.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies is the vaccine arm of Johnson & Johnson. The Janssen vaccine is now approved for use in people 18 years and older. It only requires a single dose to be effective. The two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines continue to be available.

There is some confusion about which vaccine to take. The most important thing to know is all three vaccines are very effective.

Each approved vaccine has different efficacy rates. The Janssen vaccine is 72% effective at preventing infection and 86% effective at preventing severe disease. Pfizer and Moderna quote a 95% efficacy rate.

It is important to remember these numbers are not direct head-to-head comparisons. Scientists performed the clinical trials for each vaccine in different parts of the world at various pandemic stages.

Protecting our teachers through vaccination access is critical to the safe reopening of schools.

Every parent wants children back in the classroom. Teachers long to see the children’s smiling faces. Grandparents count down the days until they can cheer on the basketball teams, band concerts, and choir performances.

Texas category 1B candidates include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Solid-organ transplantation
  • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

The vaccine rollout program is confusing and challenging to navigate. The Texas Department of Health released an interactive tool today to help. Check it out here.

Thank you to BeingWell for publishing this article on Medium

Blog Author: Dr. Jeff Livingston 

Main Blog Photo By: Drazen Zigic Istock by Getty