By Staff

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas teachers are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Texas Department of State Health Services on Wednesday, March 3, notified all vaccine providers that they should immediately include school and child care workers in vaccine administration.

On Tuesday night, 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 the people eligible as “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.”

This move does not change the other groups prioritized for vaccination in Texas.

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.

Texas AFT teachers union President Zeph Capo released the following statement:

Texas AFT and educators across Texas achieved an amazing victory with President Biden directing states to include and prioritize teachers and school employees in current vaccination tiers.

It’s been a disheartening two months since the vaccine rollout to see Texas officials continue to push for more and more students and staff on campuses without equipping them with protection from the vaccine. Biden’s announcement changes the outlook on safe campuses. While the goal of vaccinating all school employees in a month seems challenging, we’re going to do our part by encouraging all our members to start making appointments as soon as possible.

We all want to get back to our schools to teach in person without fearing the dire consequences of a serious infection. While this is only one piece to that end, it certainly is to be commended.

RELATED: What North Texas School Districts Have To Say About Gov. Greg Abbott Fully Reopening Texas

RELATED: Individual School Districts Can Still Mandate Masks, Texas Education Agency Says Staff