COVID-19 Vaccine Information In Texas
If you’re in the Phase 1A or Phase 1B groups eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you’re probably familiar with the challenges in finding where to get vaccinated. We’ve heard about long lines, Texans camping out as if there’s a Black Friday sale, and calling numerous places for an appointment without success. Vaccine rollout in Texas has not been smooth, but DSHS has plans to make it easier beginning next week.
Next week, Texas will direct most of the COVID-19 vaccine received from the federal government to large providers who can vaccinate a total of more than 100,000 people. Additional vaccine will be distributed to smaller providers in other parts of the state.
As the vaccination effort continues to expand to people who are at a greater risk of hospitalization and death, in addition to front-line health care workers, these vaccination hubs will provide people in those priority populations with identifiable sites where vaccination is occurring and a simpler way to sign-up for an appointment with each provider.
Providers that receive the larger amounts of vaccine will vaccinate health care workers, people who are 65 and older, and those who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe disease or death. They also agree to provide a registration phone number and website. These providers will focus on areas and populations hardest hit by COVID-19 while vaccinating people from surrounding areas.
The Texas Department of State Health Services surveyed vaccine providers about their capacity to operate large, community vaccination sites the week of Jan. 11. DSHS will publish a list of vaccine hub providers later this week once vaccine allocation is finalized.
COVID-19 Vaccine Supplies Are Still Limited
Large and small sites around Texas will receive a total of about 200,000 doses of vaccine next week. That will be the last week the state is required to reserve doses to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities under the federal pharmacy-LTC partnership, freeing up more vaccine for use in other settings in the future.
Vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it. This means it will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for the people in the priority populations who want to be vaccinated. The supply is expected to increase in the coming months, and additional vaccines are in clinical trials and may be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Providers should use all doses allocated to administer the first dose of vaccine to people. There is no need to reserve shots for a second dose. Locations will get a matching number of doses for that at the appropriate time.
People can find more information on COVID-19 vaccine and its availability at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx.