Texas Expands the CDC’s Phase 1B Vaccine Allocation Plan

Texas Vaccination Plan 1B includes most seniors and those at high risk for COVID-19
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Austin (Coronavirus Today)

The state of Texas announced it would prioritize people who are at the most significant risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 for the next phase of vaccination. 

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) press statement issued on December 21, 2020, more than 70 percent of Texas’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred in people aged 65+. And scientific evidence shows that adults of any age with certain medical conditions have an increased risk of hospitalization and death if they get sick with COVID-19.

Previously, during a meeting on December 17, 2020, the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended vaccinating these diverse groups in Phase 1B of vaccine distribution to limit the loss of life from COVID-19 and help reduce the burden on the state’s hospitals. 

Following this recommendation, the Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, M.D., approved that definition.

“The focus on people who are age 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services. 

“This approach ensures that Texans at the most severe risk from COVID-19 can be protected across races and ethnicities and regardless of where they work.”

Texas is currently in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, including residents of long-term care facilities and front-line health care workers. With an estimated 1.9 million Texans in those groups, it will likely be at least a few weeks before a transition to Phase 1B occurs. 

The timing will depend on the number of vaccines provided to Texas and the uptake of authorized COVID-19 vaccines among the priority populations.

‘As Texas progresses into Phase 1B in the coming weeks, the state will work with vaccine providers and local partners to ensure that people who are 65 and older or have the medical conditions and those Texans who work in front-line and critical industries have access to vaccines so they will be protected from COVID-19 while on the job.’ 

Furthermore, ‘Texas equally will strive to ensure vaccine reaches communities with health disparities under Texas Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles,’ updated on December 17, 2020.

As of December 21st, Harris County, which includes Houston’s city, confirmed the most COVID-19 cases (219,265) in Texas.

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