Coronavirus pandemic

More people in the state of Texas might soon be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine as state officials prepare for a new possible emergency use authorization.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Friday that it has started inviting pediatric health care providers to enroll in its COVID-19 vaccine program. The announcement is in preparation for the anticipated emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for those ages 12 and older.

The department sent a letter to more than 3,000 pediatric service providers in addition to the Texas Medical Association and Texas Pediatric Society.

“Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to ending the pandemic and getting back to normal,” John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the department, said. “Starting the enrollment process now will enable pediatric providers to start vaccinating their patients soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expands the Pfizer vaccine’s emergency use authorization.”

Local efforts

Dr. Alejandro Arroliga, chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White Health, said Friday that as the community sees the end of the pandemic coming it was important to finish what was started.

Right now is the time to work together to get everyone vaccinated, Arroliga said. He said those who are vaccinated should help their friends and family members overcome their hesitation on the vaccine.

“We will have time later to look back at these grim milestones, learn from missteps and build the health care and public health infrastructure of tomorrow,” Arroliga said. “But right now, it is time to roll up our sleeves, activate the can-do American spirit, and engage our communities in an effort to increase vaccination. We must all assume responsibility for the well-being of each other, for the greater good.”

School districts

Temple Independent School District stayed at one case in the past seven days Friday according to its dashboard, with the case located at Travis Science Academy.

Belton ISD continued to have five cases of the viruses at its schools according to its active case dashboard. There is one case at Leon Heights Elementary, two at Belton Middle School, one at Belton High School and one at Lake Belton High School.

Killeen ISD showed only 10 cases of the virus, seven among students and three among teachers, on its seven day dashboard Friday.

Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said the district continued to have no new or active cases as of Friday.