Edinburg CISD reaches 20,000 vaccination milestone

EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District marked a milestone on April 16, administering 20,000 doses through its highly successful COVID-19 Community Vaccine Clinics.

"Yesterday, I decided to come today to put it on," said Pablo Torres of Donna. "I'm glad to hear about this school and how they're helping people by putting on the coronavirus shot."

Torres was the 20,000th recipient of a COVID-19 vaccine administered by one of the District's registered nurses at the clinic held inside the gymnasium at Vela High School.

"I am ecstatic, especially in knowing that we are keeping our community safe," said ECISD Superintendent Dr. Mario Salinas. "To administer 20,000 vaccines as an independent school district, I think it's something that we need to celebrate. Very few organizations, including hospitals, I would venture to say have inoculated 20,000 individuals."

Salinas said that Edinburg CISD is fortunate to help the community stop the spread of the coronavirus with its experienced staff, including over 50 registered nurses and more than 80 police officers, and the facilities to host large vaccination clinics.

"Our COVID-19 clinic wouldn't be possible without Edinburg CISD staff members," said ECISD COVID-19 Director Dr. Anthon Garza. "We have approximately 80 staff members at every clinic that we run. This is a mass vaccination clinic. It takes teamwork."

As a Texas COVID-19 vaccine provider, Edinburg CISD has operated 18 vaccine clinics since January 27. There have been 12 first dose clinics and 6 second dose clinics.

"It's incredible. It's just a testament of what we can do working together with all the municipalities – the city, the county, DHR Health, and Region One," said ECISD School Board President Miguel "Mike" Farias. "It's amazing. This is our way of giving back to our community."

Edinburg CISD staff members, in partnership with staff from the City of Edinburg, the Hidalgo County Health Department, and the Edinburg CISD School Based Health Center, have administered an average of 300 doses an hour, allowing nurses to distribute 1,000 vaccinations in approximately 3 hours.

"It's a big number to hit," said Ellie Torres, Hidalgo County Commissioner for Precinct 4. We're just very appreciative for all the efforts that have been put together to make this possible."

"As first responders, we're definitely grateful to the school district for always stepping forward," said Deputy Chief Ubaldo Perez with the Edinburg Fire Department. "The community members are always going to remember the school district for what they did along aside with the city in providing resources, and then the county also providing resources."

Additionally, all Edinburg CISD employees and high school seniors (18 years and older) who wanted to get vaccinated have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Of our 5,000 employees, over 4,300 wanted a vaccine. This means that 100% of our staff that is back on campus working that wants a vaccine is vaccinated," Salinas said.

Efforts are currently under way to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to high school students who are at least 16 years old.