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State expands pool of those eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

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EDINBURG – State officials are expanding the pool of those people eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines to include school teachers and those who work in schools, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Wednesday.

“After ten weeks of successfully vaccinating healthcare workers and the elderly, we are now targeting educators,” Judge Cortez said. “This is welcome news as we move forward to begin to safely return to in-school instruction for children.”

In a letter to Hidalgo County officials, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt said that more than six million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in Texas. In Hidalgo County, more than 150,000 doses will have been administered by the end of the week.

Hellerstedt wrote that Texas has been directed by federal officials to expand the pool of people eligible for vaccines to include those who work in schools and child care operations.

This includes “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,” the commissioner wrote.

Local health officials continued to ask people to remain patient with the process, however. Despite the pool of eligible people being expanded, there was not an immediate expectation that Hidalgo County would be receiving more doses of vaccine until manufacturing abilities continue to ramp up.

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