McAllen ISD employees receiving COVID-19 vaccine raises questions

State & Regional

(Photo from KVEO, ValleyCentral.com)

MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — Amid county events, forcing people to wait hours for a COVID-19 vaccine and the state’s limited vaccine supply drying up as soon as it is replenished, some McAllen Independent School District (ISD) employees were able to get their vaccinations ahead of schedule before the general public.

Eddie Olivarez, Hidalgo County’s Chief Administrative Officer for Health and Human Services, confirmed this on Friday at a press conference for the city of McAllen’s first vaccine clinic.

McAllen distributed one thousand doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration was required for the general public.

A press release, about the vaccine clinic, stated that only those in the Tier 1A and Tier 1B category were eligible for the vaccine. This includes anyone over the age of 65, anyone over 18 with underlying health conditions, and first responders.

Eddie Olivarez, Hidalgo County Chief Administrative Officer for Health and Human Services speaks at a press conference on Friday

County, city and district officials affirmed this exclusivity for Tier 1A and Tier 1B at the press conference.

However, it was revealed that some people not originally in this category were vaccinated on Friday.

According to Olivarez, employees from McAllen ISD received the first dose of the vaccine at the clinic.

School nurses, principals, and executive directors, among others, from the district were able to receive the vaccine, and many people wondered how they could go ahead of schedule and get vaccinated before the general public.

School nurses fall under Tier 1B for Texas’s Phase 1 of vaccination. Olivarez states that vaccinating school nurses is crucial for the future when teachers and other educators need vaccinations.

Principals, executive directors, and other employees were allowed to get the vaccine on Friday, according to Olivarez, because they assisted the county in administering COVID-19 tests to people in schools.

“We’re giving a limited number of vaccines to those who, in turn, helped us vaccinate others,” said Olivarez. “There are people from the school district who have been identified as assisting with vaccination components not only here but in the future.”

It was not specified how many vaccines were set aside for McAllen ISD employees. McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez commented, though, that there are 52 people within the district working with the city assisting with the vaccine process.

Credit: City of McAllen

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