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Texans 65 and older or with certain medical conditions will be included in next COVID-19 vaccine phase, DSHS says

On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services released the priorities for Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says people 65 years old and older or with certain medical conditions will be prioritized in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. DSHS said these groups are at the greatest risk of severe disease or death from the virus.

According to DSHS, more than 70% of COVID-19 deaths in Texas have occurred in people 65 years old or older, and scientific evidence shows that adults of any age with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of hospitalization or death if they get COVID-19.

The Phase 1B priorities include:

  • People 65 years old and older
  • People 16 years old and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, including 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

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott to receive COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday

"The focus on people who are age 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations," said Imelda Garcia, the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel chair and DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services. "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."

Currently, Texas is in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents. DSHS says with 1.9 million Texans in those groups, it will likely be at least a few weeks before Phase 1B begins. Learn more about Phase 1B.

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