COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Tam Jones, a professor at Texas A&M Central Texas, spent most of his life in public education, serving as a secondary math and science teacher, an elementary, middle school then eventually a high school Principal.
From there, he became an Assistant Superintendent in the Fort Worth area until serving two tours at the Texas Education Agency.
“This is year 45, I think, to be in education from when I first graduated from Texas A&M,” he said.
It’s safe to say he knows better than most how critical vaccines are for kids in schools.
“The first priority of every principal, every district level official, every superintendent in the area has to be, “are we taking students safety as our prime and utmost concern?” He said, thinking back to when he was a superintendent.
A threshold of safety that has yet to be crossed, is getting a COVID-19 vaccine into kids’ ages 5-11 arms.
However, that possibility is on the horizon with FDA approval of a low dosage of Pfizer’s vaccine and a CDC decision expected this week.
“You look forward to saying, “Hey, we could potentially have a vaccine here that can help keep those same kids out of the hospital, their siblings, their friends, those they're in school and daycare with,” explained Dr. Dominic Lucia, the chief executive officer of Baylor Scott and White’s McLane Children’s Hospital, in Temple.
Having a vaccine, an important step after healthcare officials, like Dr. Lucia, have witnessed just how deadly the delta variant can be.
“That really hit home, in the area of patient population that we take care of,” he began. “We have a lot of kids in the hospital, a lot of really sick kids.”
The announcement comes just in time for the holidays.
A time where we saw our biggest jump in COVID cases just over a year ago.
“It gives me a little bit of goosebumps,” Dr. Lucia said, thinking about having a more normal holiday season. “Relationships have suffered. We know that doing things online just isn't quite the same as giving hugs and being around each other.”
Now, Jones explained the challenge is how to administer the vaccine to kids.
“District officials are already in the planning stages for once these new vaccines arrive on site,” he explained. “They'll have a plan in place to be able to start helping satisfy the community's needs.”