Gov. Abbott has announced the state's distribution plan, which will initially focus on healthcare and frontline workers.
"The State of Texas is already prepared for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, and will swiftly distribute these vaccines to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized," said Abbott. "As we await the first shipment of these vaccines, we will work with communities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
The CDC has made an initial allotment of over 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the State of Texas for December, says the governor's office. The vaccines, which should begin arriving the week of December 14th, will be distributed to qualifying providers across the state who will administer these immunizations based on the Vaccine Distribution Principles developed by the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP).
The panel was created by DSHS to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions, including identifying groups that should be vaccinated first to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources, says the governor's office.
Additional allotments may be made later this month, and the governor says increased allotments are expected in January and the following months.
Texas will initially allocate COVID-19 vaccines based on the following criteria:
- Protecting health care workers who care for COVID-19 patients and maintain the health care infrastructure
- Protecting frontline workers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19
- Protecting vulnerable populations at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19
- Mitigating health inequities due to factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status, and geography
- Data-driven allocations using the best available scientific evidence and epidemiology at the time, allowing for flexibility for local conditions
- Geographic diversity, considering access in urban and rural communities and in affected ZIP codes
- Transparency through sharing allocations with the public and seeking public feedback
Healthcare workers likely to provide direct care for COVID-19 patients and other vulnerable residents have been approved to be the first group to receive the vaccine. This includes staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, emergency medical services, and home healthcare workers.
As part of its ongoing work, EVAP will make recommendations on how and when to roll out vaccines to other critical groups, says the governor's office.