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Who decides how many vaccines Texas gets?

CDC determines how many doses of vaccine Texas will receive each week, based on population. Once the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is notified of the number of doses expected the following week, DSHS staff presents possibilities for vaccine distribution to the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). The panel makes modifications and recommendations to the Commissioner of Health, who makes the final decision on that week’s distribution.

Who decides how to distribute the vaccine in Texas?

In Texas, DSHS distributes the vaccine with the guidance of the EVAP, appointed by the Health Commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt.

How did DSHS decide who to immunize first?

The Commissioner of Health appointed an EVAP to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions. This includes identifying groups that should be vaccinated first. The goal is to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources. EVAP developed Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles (PDF) that provide the foundation for the Texas vaccine allocation process.

Who can get the vaccine now?

Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.

Phase 1B recipients include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

This list does not necessarily indicate the order of vaccination.

When will teachers, critical infrastructure workers, essential workers and other front-line workers not included in 1A, be eligible for the vaccine?

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public who are not considered Phase 1B. No specific occupation or group is specifically identified in 1B; however, all occupations will have some individuals who meet the 1B criteria. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.

Additional information for educators and school staff is available in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) K-12 COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ.

If I’m eligible for vaccine now, how do I get one?

The week of January 11, Texas will direct most COVID-19 vaccines received to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.

  • The goal of this plan is to provide more people the vaccine and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment.
  • Providers will focus on vaccinating areas and populations hardest hit by COVID-19.

If you are in Phase 1 and eligible to receive the vaccine, please check the COVID‑19 Vaccination Hub Providers page to find a hub near you and learn how to register.

Alternately, you can also check the websites of vaccine providers listed on the Texas COVID‑19 Vaccine Availability map to see if they have enough vaccine supply at this time.

Remember:

  • Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine.
  • Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability.
  • Call only if the website doesn’t answer your questions.

Vaccine hubs aim to provide more vaccines quicker and easier. Texas vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all.

After Phase 1, who gets the vaccine next?

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available. EVAP is considering what criteria could be used for later stages of vaccine distribution. This website will be updated when those decisions are completed.

What do I need to do now?

  • Phase 1A:If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer. If you are a long-term care resident, contact your caretaker.
  • Phase 1B:Please check to website of vaccine providers listed on the Texas COVID‑19 Vaccine Availability map to see if they have enough vaccine supply at this time.

Remember:

  • Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine.
  • Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability.
  • Call only if the website doesn’t answer your questions.

Vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all.

Who can provide vaccines, and how does that happen?

Any facility, organization or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. Each facility or location, including those that are part of a hospital system or clinic network, must register at EnrollTexasIZ.dshs.texas.gov/emrlogin.asp and complete the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement.

Timing will depend on the amount of vaccine provided to Texas and the uptake of vaccine among the priority populations in Phase 1A and 1B.

What should I do to protect myself and others before a vaccine is available?

Practice the same safety habits you’ve been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take the following precautions to limit exposure for yourself and others:

  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering in public and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing is not possible.
  • Practice social distancing and avoid close contact with others:
    • Outside your home:Stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid crowded places.
    • Inside your home:Avoid close contact with household members who are sick. Avoid sharing personal items and use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members, if possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a household disinfectant on List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

 

For more information, visit www.dshs.state.tx.us