DSHS directs providers to continue to prioritize older adults
All adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas beginning Monday, March 29. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week. Providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the recent Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.
“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death – such as older adults.”
DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group present for vaccination, whether they are listed or not, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible.
Next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. The public will enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to identify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a participating local health department. The providers will notify you when new clinics and appointments become available. People can continue to find additional providers through the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.
Online registration will be the best option for most people. For those for whom that is not an option, DSHS will launch a toll-free number to assist in making an appointment with a participating provider or locating another provider with a vaccine available.
To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than six million people with at least one dose and more than three million fully vaccinated. They authorize most vaccines for 18 years old and older; the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older.