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'It's that easy': Gov. Greg Abbott receives COVID-19 vaccine on live TV

The governor and other top officials said they wanted to televise their injections to show that the vaccine is safe and effective.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other top state health officials received the COVID-19 vaccine on live TV Tuesday in an effort to show that it's "safe and easy."

He was vaccinated as the state receives hundreds of thousands of doses over the span of a couple of weeks. 

Abbott got the shot along with Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt and other top health officials. They received the vaccine at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin on Tuesday, Dec. 22. KVUE streamed their vaccine injections on KVUE's YouTube channel

The governor's office confirmed they received the Pfizer vaccine.

KVUE asked Abbott why he chose to receive the vaccine on this particular day. He said, "It's important for governors to step up and be examples in their community." He also said there are studies showing that people are apprehensive about getting the vaccine, and he wants to ensure that people trust the vaccine.

After receiving the vaccine, the governor threw his hands up and said, "It's that easy," before a round of applause.

"I will never ask Texans to do something I wouldn't do," Abbott said.

On the first week of the vaccine distribution, the state of Texas received more than 220,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. 

In the second week of distribution, which starts Dec. 21, the governor said that the state will have received more than 800,000 doses. By the end of the month, more than 1 million doses will be distributed throughout Texas, the governor said. 

"Right now, the lead recipients of the vaccine are doctors and nurses on the frontline," said Gov. Abbott. 

Gov. Abbott said Texas is working to vaccinate the most vulnerable Texas residents next, which includes those in nursing homes or others with medical conditions that put them at risk.

When asked why Texas is not strictly following CDC guidelines on who is next to receive the vaccine, Gov. Abbott's office released the following statement:

"The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel felt strongly about protecting those Texans at the highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Morbidity and mortality data clearly shows that people over 65 years of age and/or with one of the chronic illnesses listed in the Phase 1b guidelines, are in greater danger of dying or ending up in the hospital, ICU or on a ventilator if they do get sick with COVID-19. By focusing on people in those categories, the vaccine will protect the most vulnerable Texans across various population and work sectors, including education. These populations are as diverse as Texas, and as production of vaccine continues to ramp up, Texas will utilize the vaccine available in Phase 1b to vaccinate those most at risk of dying or being hospitalized.”

Texas Medical Association President Dr. Diana Fite released the following statement about Abbott receiving the vaccine:

"TMA thanks Gov. Abbott for rolling up his sleeve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. People need to see we can make Texas strong against the coronavirus if we all take these preventive measures to protect ourselves and others. The governor is leading by example by getting the shot.

This safe and effective vaccine represents the early light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. If enough people get the shot when they are eligible to do so, we can win this battle. That is why I got vaccinated last week, as did many of my frontline physician colleagues and health care workers.

If everyone also continues to wear masks when out, practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently – and get the vaccine – we can beat this virus and get back to being the Texas we all know and love."

WATCH: Gov. Abbott gives COVID-19 vaccine update live


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