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Education

FDA Approval Clears Way For San Antonio ISD’s Employee Vaccine Mandate

A young San Antonio ISD student walks towards school as a staff member helps a student in a wheelchair off the school bus behind him.
SAISD Communications
/
San Antonio ISD
San Antonio ISD will require bus drivers and other district employees show proof they're vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15.

A lawsuit Texas filed against the San Antonio Independent School District last week is on shaky ground now that the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to one of the coronavirus vaccines.

When SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez announced the vaccine requirement last Monday, he said he expected the FDA to fully approve the vaccine soon. He gave employees until Oct. 15 to show proof they were fully vaccinated, and said that gave them until Sept. 10 to receive the first shot.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office argued that SAISD’s vaccine mandate violated state law because the coronavirus vaccines were only authorized for emergency use.

Martinez told staff Friday that he would move the district’s vaccine deadline back if the FDA didn’t fully approve a vaccine in time to meet his deadline.

Paxton’s office sent a news release out declaring victory Monday, just as news broke that Pfizer’s vaccine has FDA approval.

“San Antonio ISD tried to play by its own set of rules. Thankfully, we stopped them,” Paxton said in the news release.

SAISD spokesperson Laura Short said Monday the district’s vaccine mandate remains in effect and was never lifted.

“Now that the vaccine has received full approval, the deadline does not need to be revised,” Short said in an email.

Martinez called the Pfizer authorization “a positive step forward in the fight against COVID-19” in a statement released by the district.

“We know there are residents across San Antonio who have been reluctant to get their shots because it was only authorized for emergency use and who have waited for full approval before getting vaccinated,” Martinez said. “That moment has come and our message today is simple: Please protect yourself, your community, and children across our city by getting vaccinated.”

The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the future of the lawsuit.

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