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State officials exclude teachers from next vaccination phase, despite CDC suggestion

The Centers for Disease Control suggested teachers, first responders and other essential workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine next.
The Centers for Disease Control suggested teachers, first responders and other essential workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine next.

HOUSTON – The Centers for Disease Control suggested teachers, first responders and other essential workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine next. However, Texas health officials seemed to disagree.

Officials announced Monday that the second phase of vaccinations, Phase 1B, will focus on people 65 and older and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

Zeph Capo, who serves as president of the Texas American Federation of Teachers, disagreed with the decision.

“If they’re requiring us to come in-person to keep the economy open and work under the same conditions we did pre-COVID, with poor ventilation, often overcrowded classrooms, and too small of a confined space, then minimally (teachers) should be able to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” said Capo.

According to Capo, it’s especially alarming after a long-time teacher at Milby High School, 52-year-old Erick Ortiz, died from COVID-19 earlier this month.

Capo said he hopes state officials will make teachers a priority.

“There’s still a real concern that decisions made here may not be considering the best interest of our educators,” said Capo.

KPRC2 reached out to the Texas Department of State Health Services and had not received a response.


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