“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, chair of the state health department’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. As of Tuesday, over three million Texans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and over six million had gotten at least one vaccine shot.
Garcia said Tuesday that the state of Texas is still “asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death — such as older adults,” once vaccine eligibility expands on Monday.
In a Tuesday news release, the state health department wrote that it has directed vaccine providers in Texas “to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments” and move them to the front of the line even once vaccines open up for all adult Texans next week.
It also announced that a statewide website “to register for a shot through some public health providers” sometime next week, and that it would also launch a toll-free vaccine registration hotline in the days ahead for those without internet access.
Just this week, all Texans 50 and up became eligible to get vaccinated in Texas. Until Monday, vaccines will still only be available to Texans 16 and older with chronic health conditions as well as K-12 teachers, daycare workers and Texans over 50.
It's especially welcome news given that just a few weeks ago Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate, touting Texas' success in vaccinating a majority of elderly Texans and the fact that responsible Texans don't need their government to tell them that mask-wearing in public is the responsible thing to do. At least with the upcoming expansion of vaccine eligibility, more people than ever will be able to get in line for the best form of protection against this deadly virus.