AUSTIN, Texas – The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination across Texas will prioritize older residents and people who are at the greatest risk of severe disease and death from the virus, state health officials announced on Monday.
According to the Department of State Health Services, more than 70% of COVID-19 deaths in Texas have occurred in people age 65 and older, and scientific evidence shows that adults with certain medical conditions have an increased risk of hospitalization and death if they get sick with COVID-19.
The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) recommended vaccinating these diverse groups in Phase 1B of vaccine distribution to limit deaths from COVID-19 and help reduce the burden on the state’s hospitals.
The list includes people 65 years of age and older and 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:
- 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)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
“The focus on people who are age 65 and older or who have co-morbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Imelda Garcia, EVAP chair and DSHS associate commissioner. “This approach ensures that Texans at the most severe risk from COVID-19 can be protected across races and ethnicities and regardless of where they work.”
The state is currently in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes residents of long-term care facilities and front-line health care workers.
There are an estimated 1.9 million Texans in the Phase 1A group which means it will likely be at least a few weeks before a transition to Phase 1B occurs.
The timing will also depend on the vaccine supply provided to Texas. You can get more information on Phase 1B here.
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