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Texans aged 65 and over and those at least 16 years old with certain chronic medical conditions will be next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Texas State Department of Health said on Monday.
“Focusing on people 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Imelda Garcia, chair of the state commission for vaccine allocation expertise and DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious diseases. “This approach ensures that Texans at the highest risk of COVID-19 can be protected between races and ethnicities and regardless of where they work.”
The vaccine, which arrived in Texas on Dec. 14, has so far only been available to front-line health care workers and long-term care residents. There are nearly 1.9 million Texans in the group, so it will likely take several weeks before the state moves to the next phase, state health officials said.
The state expects to receive 1.4 million doses of vaccine by the end of the month. Eligible facilities at this stage include hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities.
A group – made up of state lawmakers, state and local health officials, medical experts and researchers – recommended those eligible for the next phase on Thursday. Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, approved the recommendation Monday.
More than 42,000 doses of the vaccine had been given in Texas since Monday, state data show.
Eligibility conditions for the next phase of the vaccine include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary heart disease or cardiomyopathies
- Transplantation of solid organs
- Obesity and severe obesity
- Sickle disease
- Type 2 diabetes