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Why Phase 1C eligible patients can't get vaccine from Austin Public Health this week

Texas has about 3.77 million people aged 65 and up. Adding the 50 to 64 age range adds an estimated 5.01 million Texans to the eligibility list.

AUSTIN, Texas — People in Phase 1C are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas starting Monday, March 15. 

In Texas, Phase 1C includes anyone over 50 years old. That's in addition to people in Phase 1A and 1B: long-term care facility residents, teachers and childcare workers, essential frontline workers and people older than 16 years old with medical conditions that make them high-risk. Texas' Phase 1C differs from the CDC recommendation, which suggests including other essential workers such as transportation employees, energy employees and public safety workers. 

Despite the Phase 1C eligibility starting Monday, Austin Public Health (APH) officials said those people will not be able to receive the vaccine through APH this week. 

Here's why: APH said Friday it was going to continue prioritizing individuals in Phase 1A and 1B after learning the department had not received an increased vaccine allocation for next week from the State.

"Once we have additional vaccine, we will consider expanding eligibility to Phase 1C," APH said.

WATCH: Phase 1C of vaccine eligibility in Texas kicks off March 15

According to the DSHS, more than 93% of the state's fatalities caused by the virus have been in people 50 or older, with people in the range of 50 to 64 accounting for 20% of all deaths.

“We’ve seen a remarkable decrease in the number of hospitalizations and deaths since people 65 and older started becoming fully vaccinated in January,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “Expanding to ages 50 to 64 will continue the State’s priorities of protecting those at the greatest risk of severe outcomes and preserving the state’s health care system.”

The DSHS reports that more than half of all Texas seniors have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 30% are now fully vaccinated.

"The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Texas hospitals has fallen by two-thirds from its peak in mid-January," the DSHS said. "There are about 5 million Texans between the ages of 50 and 64; more than 1 million of them are already vaccinated."

Texas has about 3.77 million people aged 65 and up. Adding the 50 to 64 age range adds an estimated 5.01 million Texas to the eligibility list. However, about 1.22 million (or 24%) from that age group have already been vaccinated.

Local providers, like H-E-B and CVS, said on their websites that they're accepting people in Phase 1C.

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