During a Thursday news conference, DSHS said that the COVID-19 vaccination won’t be included in the list of Mandatory vaccines Texas students must get to attend school. The statement comes on the heels of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine’s emergency approval for use in children ages 12-15.
According to Texas Department of State Health Service associate commissioner Imelda Garcia, nearly 20 million vaccine doses have been given in Texas, which includes more than 9 million individuals aged 16 and older who are fully vaccinated. Despite the COVID-19 vaccine not being mandatory for students, health experts are recommending anyone who can get the vaccine to do so.
State records also indicate that hundreds of thousands of Texans have either missed or chosen not to receive the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine (763,703 people). A CDC study of vaccinated healthcare workers revealed Pfizer and Moderna offered partial protection after one dose, appearing to be 80% effective, but the efficacy rate increases to 90% after two doses.
On Thursday, the CDC released newly revised guidelines on mask wearing by vaccinated individuals in indoor and outdoor spaces saying that masks are no longer recommended for individuals who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The guidance still advises individuals to wear masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
Individuals with compromised immune systems should consult with physicians before removing their masks, and individuals may be required to continue wearing them in certain instances, including at private businesses.