With Gov. Abbot’s rescinding mask orders statewide, and Texas educators unclear how this will impact schools, it’s worth looking at who makes vaccine decisions in Texas and would teachers be included?
A strong argument has come up to elevate teachers to be the next ones to receive the vaccine, the sooner they are inoculated the sooner kids can get back to school. “They’re part of the first responders, the way I think of teachers,” said State Rep. Harold Dutton, chair of the public education committee last week.
The COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) is appointed to develop vaccine allocation strategies as recommendations to the Texas Commissioner of Health. The panel is led by Imelda Garcia, Associate Commissioner for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services, and includes other experts.
Current legislators include State Senators Lois Kolkhorst, and Eddie Lucio, Jr, and House Reps Stephanie Klick, and Senfronia Thompson. Also included is the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for the UT System and former House Chairman John Zerwas.
“It really is based on vaccine supply,” said Imelda Garcia. “The more vaccine that comes to the state every week helps us accelerate how quickly we can get through our 1B population.”
Here’s the full list of voting members:
- Chair, Imelda Garcia, Associate Commissioner for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services, DSHS
- The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst, Texas Senate District 18
- The Honorable Eddie Lucio, Jr., Texas Senate District 27
- The Honorable Stephanie Klick, Texas House District 91
- The Honorable Senfronia Thompson, Texas House District 141
- David Lakey, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, University of Texas System
- Gerald Parker, M.D., Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
- John Zerwas, M.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, University of Texas System
- W. Nim Kidd, Chief, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas A&M System
- Stephen Williams, MPA, Director, Houston Health Department
- Casie Stoughton,RN, MPH, Director of Public Health, City of Amarillo
- Paul McGaha D.O., MPH, Local Health Authority, Smith County, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
- David Gruber, Associate Commissioner for Regional and Local Health Operations, DSHS
- Manda Hall, M.D., Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement, DSHS
- Stephen Pont, M.D., Director of the Center for Public Health Policy & Practice, DSHS
- Jennifer Shuford, M.D., Chief State Epidemiologist, DSHS
- Ryan Van Ramshorst, M.D., MPD, Chief Medical Officer, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program, Health and Human Services Commission