Texas remains in the early stages of the vaccine rollout as providers continue to prioritize doses for the state’s critical workers and vulnerable populations.
Statewide and in Travis County, distribution is approved for individuals in Phase 1A, which includes front-line health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities, as well as Phase 1B, which includes people over age 65 and individuals with certain medical conditions.
While Texas educators have not been designated as a population prioritized in vaccine distribution, roughly 10%-15% of area educators qualify under Phase 1B.
With the help of a local ambulance service, First Medical Response of Texas, and its founder, Edwin Reyes, 200 Phase 1B-eligible LTISD staff received the first dose of the vaccine Jan. 19 at Lake Travis High School, according to LTISD Director of Communications Marco Alvarad.
LTISD is working with Reyes and the First Medical Response team to secure the second dose for those 1B-eligible employees. Alvarado said the district is also working with additional providers in an effort to obtain future vaccines for other staff members outside of the Phase 1 category.
Grateful to Edwin Reyes and First Medical Response of Texas for providing the covid vaccine to approx 200 eligible District staff! @nortonp13 @HollymkLt @EvaleneHR pic.twitter.com/aCwJ8Zj3rY
— ltisdschools (@ltisdschools) January 19, 2021
The following day, a total of 138 EISD staffers secured COVID-19 vaccines with help from Austin Public Health and Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, according to a news release from the district.
Both districts have publicly asserted the importance of vaccinating school district staff, especially those above age 65.
Recently, EISD and LTISD were among 17 Austin-area school districts that signed a letter encouraging Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, to push for the early allocation of vaccines for educators and school staff.
“We believe giving teachers and staff priority access to vaccinations is critical to our goal of sustaining schools,” EISD Superintendent Tom Leonard said. “We appreciate the effort APH and Seton have given to ensure our most vulnerable staff receive the vaccination; we are truly thankful for their partnership.”