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Gov. Greg Abbott Tells Healthcare Providers: Don't Wait To Vaccinate Against COVID-19

People wait for a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center. The center has been transformed into a mass vaccination site for residents of Tarrant County and beyond.
People wait for a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center. The center has been transformed into a mass vaccination site for residents of Tarrant County and beyond.

Gov. Greg Abbott had a message for healthcare providers on Monday: Give out all the COVID-19 vaccine you have. Don’t hold on to it to make sure people get their second dose.

Abbott visited the mass vaccination site at the Arlington Expo Center for a press conference about how vaccine rollout is going, exactly one month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first vaccine for emergency use.

Abbott said it’s important for providers to get vaccines in as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible.

“Get that dose to a Texan immediately, knowing full well that you will be receiving your second dose very, very soon,” Abbott said.

This directive echoes President-elect Joe Biden’s announced strategy to inoculate as many people as possible instead of holding back second doses.

Abbott told reporters that each week this month, Texas will get 310,000 first doses, and 320,000 to 500,000 second doses. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to provide maximum protection. Those numbers don’t account for the doses going to long-term care facilities, he said.

“The biggest complaint that I hear with regard to the vaccination process is an inadequate supply, and believe me, I’m sympathetic to it, because it’s the biggest complaint that I also have,” Abbott said. “The supply is totally up to the federal government, and we are urging them to get us more supply as quickly as possible.”

Abbott’s other complaint is about the pace of vaccination in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. He said CVS and Walgreens, which are administering that project, need to speed things up, and he has heard similar complaints from other governors.

“There's no reason for that process to be moving as slowly as it is,” he said.

This week, the Texas Department of State Health Services plans to direct most COVID-19 vaccine doses to 28 vaccination hubs, with the goal of inoculating more than 100,000 people.

“Vaccine hubs aim to provide more vaccines quicker and easier. Texas vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all,” DSHS’s website states.

Right now, the only people eligible to get vaccinated are front-line healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people over 65 or people with a chronic medical condition that puts them at higher risk for a severe case of COVID.

Wondering how to get a vaccine if you fall into those groups? Follow DSHS’s instructions and find a vaccine hub and contact that hub.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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