TEXAS – State officials are signaling that more people may begin to get coronavirus vaccines now, but the reality is that doing so will depend on actually finding any available doses.
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Over the last two weeks, front-line health care workers in Texas have been receiving the vaccines that are available as part of the state’s Phase 1A distribution.
Beginning this week, pharmacies will take a leading role in distributing the vaccine to long-term care facility residents and staff members. That’s part of the 1A plan, too.
Next comes Phase 1B, which will include people who are 65 and older and people who are 16 and older who have serious health problems.
The Department of State Health Services has indicated the limited vaccine supplies may be available for Phase 1B recipients, but a representative said Monday that Texas probably will be in Phase 1A for several weeks and vaccine priority will be placed on the people who qualify for that group.
According to the department, Phase 1B includes people 65 and older and people 16 and older who have at least one chronic medical condition, including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Solid-organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity
- Sickle cell disease
Pharmacies and other large providers were asked Thursday to reach out to smaller health care offices to assist with vaccinating Phase 1A workers.
After all the people qualifying for Phase 1A who want vaccines have been served, providers can start distributing to the Phase 1B population. But that supply is limited, officials said.
According to the State Health Service Department website, Phase 1B recipients could start receiving vaccines as early as Monday and into January, as long as there are supplies available and the provider is willing.
The department has a vaccine provider map that lists the providers that received the vaccine.
The map shows where the vaccines were shipped but doesn’t indicate whether providers have vaccines available for the Phase 1B population, a department representative said. Providers already may have used all of their vaccines.
People will need to contact the providers to make appointments to get vaccinated, but because the state remains in Phase 1A, the priority will be on health care workers and residents of long-term facilities.