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Texas to begin directing COVID-19 vaccine to large hubs next week

Providers that can serve 100,000 people or more will soon be receiving more vaccines from the federal government.

AUSTIN, Texas — Large providers that can serve more than 100,000 people or more will begin receiving more shipments from the federal government as early as next week, Texas Health and Human Services announced on Thursday.

Although most of the vaccines will be directed to these large hubs, additional vaccines will still be sent to smaller providers across the state.

Health leaders say these vaccination hubs will provide people in priority populations, such as those at a greater risk and frontline health care workers, with identifiable vaccine sites and a simpler way to sign up for appointments.

The providers who receive these larger amounts will be asked to vaccinate health care workers, people who are 65 or older, and those who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe disease or death. They will also agree to provide a registration phone number and website, as well as focus on areas and populations that have been hit hardest by the virus while vaccinating people from surrounding areas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services surveyed providers about their capability to operate large vaccination sites from the week of Jan. 11. It will publish a list of hub providers in the coming days once vaccine allocation is finalized.

Sites both large and small will receive about 200,000 doses next week. This will be the last week the State is required to reserve doses to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities under the federal pharmacy-LTC partnership, which will free up more vaccines for use in other settings in the future.

At this time, the vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers who are currently producing it. It will take more time for Texas to receive enough to serve all the people in these priority populations. However, the supply is expected to increase in the coming months and additional vaccines currently in clinical trials could soon be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

Providers are asked to use all doses allocated to administer the first dose of vaccine to people. There is not a need to reserve vaccines for a second dose because they will be getting a matching number of doses for that at the appropriate time.

More information on the state's vaccine availability can be found here.


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