According to Abbott's office, an initial allotment of over 1.4 million doses will begin arriving in Texas soon and the state's distribution plan will initially focus on healthcare and frontline workers.
ATPE says that the availability of a vaccine is "welcome news."
"Vaccine access should make it easier for Texas public schools to resume normal operations, including the necessary step of getting students and educators physically back into their classrooms, sooner rather than later," the group said in a statement. "As ATPE has repeatedly expressed, remote schooling is a poor substitute for in-person instruction, and the many reports we have heard of students struggling under this school year’s myriad disruptions are troubling."
ATPE says that DSHS has said school nurses will be included in the first phase of vaccine distribution. The group also says that based on discussions with state officials, it is confident that Texas public educators will be included in the second phase of distribution, which is designated for frontline workers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
"This is a critical step to getting Texas back to normal," ATPE said. "Educators are and have always been on the front lines doing work that is integral to the well-being of Texas and its citizens."
ATPE is also urging state and federal officials to share information "clearly and widely" about vaccines that become available, including what options are available, the risks and benefits of vaccination, when and how they may obtain a vaccine and what to expect.