Texas surpasses 2 million virus vaccinations as it also tops 2 million infections
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Thursday that Texas had surpassed two million Covid-19 vaccinations. That milestone occurs nearly two weeks after Texas hit the one million mark.
However, it also comes as Texas simultaneously surpasses two million confirmed Covid-19 infections in the state. The rise in cases comes despite a recent decrease in hospitalizations. In addition, more than 35,100 people in Texas have died from the virus, according to DSHS.
One out of every 13 Texans over the age of 16 has now been vaccinated against Covid-19, officials said at a virtual news conference.
The department said more 2.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in Texas, 1.7 million have received at least one dose, and 370,000 have been fully vaccinated.
In El Paso more than 70,000 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the state said.
“That is a remarkable accomplishment,” said DSHS Associate Commissioner for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services Imelda Garcia.
“We’re at a great start but I don’t have to tell you that there’s still a lot of need out there and not enough vaccines for everyone that wants it,” Garcia said.
Garcia said the state expects to see an increase of doses coming within the next week.
DSHS outlined how the administration process works. DSHS works every weekend to give their expert vaccine allocation panel options on the allocations for the panel to consider based on estimates of what they think the vaccine totals will be for the week. Every Monday, DSHS meets with expert panel for several hours to discuss the options like what direction to take in terms of what providers to focus on, the proportions to take and other special considerations.
The official allocation numbers don’t come in until Tuesday afternoon, Garcia said.
“The next day, then we’re having to work on making adjustments based on whether or not we got an increase or decrease, or whether or not that makes the vaccine may have shifted,” she said.
Those modifications then go to a smaller group of the expert panel to refine their allocation list to get submitted for approval.
The list then gets sent to providers to decide whether to accect, decline, or reduce the number of doses they’ll receive.
DSHS starts placing orders late Thursday, early Friday with the federal ordering system.
“We have to hit those targets in order for the guaranteeing that the vaccine will arrive as early as physically possible, the subsequent Monday or Tuesday,” Garcia said.
During the news conference, DSHS spoke on how efficient vaccination hubs in Texas are working. This week will be the third week the hubs have been in place since the start of the vaccine allocations.
Garcia said the hubs benefit people looking for vaccines because people know “they have a few places that they know will definitively be getting it.” It’s also beneficial for providers, according to Garcia, because they know they’ll have a “dependable supply of vaccine each and every week.”
Hubs must “strategically place vaccines within their size to serve and maximize the vaccine efforts.” They must also vaccinate 1A and 1B groups. They have to offer the vaccine to people regardless if they live in the county or not.
Garcia said their priority is vaccinate people who live and work in the state.
The hubs must use use up their doses within the five to seven days they get them.
Discussions with the new administration have taken place and will continue, as well as discussions on who will be included in the 1C group and when that group can start receiving the vaccine.
“We will continue to monitor vaccine uptake all across the state and talking with our local partners to see if there’s signals about slowness in vaccines administered or whether or not we need to kind of stay within that phase for a little longer,” she said.
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