AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Until this week, many teachers in the Texas Panhandle were not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now teachers, child care workers and education staff can get the vaccine if wanted.
Teachers eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 comes at a time when the state is reopening and masks mandates are being eased.
Some teachers are taking full advantage of the eligibility while others have been vaccinated for a while now thanks to their community.
“I went yesterday, there was no line. My principal worked it out that I had coverage and I was able to step off campus. I didn’t have to use my own time,” said Aaron Phillips, teacher and president of Amarillo Education Association.
Phillips wasted no time getting vaccinated against the virus.
The day after he was eligible, he got the vaccine.
“You don’t want to waste any. I feel like this stuff is like gold right now. It’s not doing any good unless we get in someone’s arm,” said Stephanie Palmer, pharmacist at Borger Pharmacy.
While teachers just became eligible to receive the vaccine this week, nearly 100 teachers at Borger ISD are already vaccinated thanks to the help of the community.
“If there’s a moment that there’s two doses here or three, I’ll contact the teacher and they’ll drop whatever they’re doing and go and get the vaccine,” said Abbie Cano, school nurse at Crockett Elementary, Borger ISD.
Borger ISD says they have a list of teachers ‘on deck’, and whenever a pharmacy or doctors office has vaccines that are going to go to waste, they call the school.
“It makes me realize that our community knows how important our teachers are,” said Cano.
Now, with teachers, and staff of schools and child care facilities among the occupations to be vaccinated, some say it’s about time and teachers should have been eligible long ago.
“It’s nice to be recognized for the work that we are doing. It is nice for it to be acknowledged that we are facing difficult working conditions and put us in a priority position to make sure that we can keep schools open and functioning as the pandemic continues,” said Phillips.
Many area educators say vaccines have been a top priority and teachers have had their classes covered and been allowed to leave school to get vaccinated without any repercussions.