AUSTIN, Texas - Starting today, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced that Phase 1C would become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the department, those in 1C would include those ages 50-64.
"For the immediate future we are going to focus on the 1A’s the 1B’s, our education staff, teachers, bus drivers, our childcare staff," said Dr. Mark Escott, the interim public authority for Austin-Travis County.
Dr. Escott said that while come Monday, more than 200,000 individuals may become eligible for the vaccine, they will still be working to vaccinate those ahead of them.
"There’s not enough vaccine to go around right at the moment," Escott said.
More than 2.7 million Texans have been fully vaccinated and 5.2 million have been vaccinated with at least one dose, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services on Sunday at 1 pm. In Travis County, 104,019 thousand have been fully vaccinated. But, Escott said as of Saturday there are around 250,000 still on the waitlist in the 1A and 1B category. Come March 15th, APH will get an allotment of 12,000 doses of the Moderna vaccines from the state.
"The state is advocating hard for more allocations to Texas," Escott said.
He says that the federal government is using census data from 2018, which shorts Texas by 1.5 million people who would be eligible for the vaccine.
"I think as we see more vaccines come in, we’ll be able to address some of those other groups," said Escott.
But says even then, it won’t just happen overnight. Escott says they’ll have to re-configure the technology and systems they’re using to best figure out a way to sort through all the categories before moving to vaccinate 1C.
"We’ve got to tweak the software a little bit to allow us to identify what percentage we want us to allocate to each group," he said. "We can’t just change the technology and say now this entire new group is eligible… we can’t prioritize, today, between those who are just over the age of 50 and those who are 1b or teachers or 1a."