Healthcare workers will be first to receive COVID-19 vaccine as early as December, Gov. Abbott says


Vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 are sorted at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium in an undated still image from video. Pfizer/Handout via REUTERS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first Texans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be health care workers and other vulnerable populations. Gov. Greg Abbott expects the first vaccine shipments to come as early as December, according to a release from Abbott’s office and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The “guiding principles” for the distribution process, which were established by the state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, were released on Monday by Abbott’s office.

This criteria will be used for initial distribution when the state receives its first doses of the vaccine, the release says.

  • Protecting health care workers who fill a critical role in caring for and preserving the lives of COVID-19 patients and maintaining the health care infrastructure for all who need it.
  • Protecting frontline workers who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work providing critical services and preserving the economy.
  • Protecting vulnerable populations who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19.
  • Mitigating health inequities due to factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status and geography.
  • Data-driven allocations using the best available scientific evidence and epidemiology at the time, allowing for flexibility for local conditions.
  • Geographic diversity through a balanced approach that considers access in urban and rural communities and in affected ZIP codes.
  • Transparency through sharing allocations with the public and seeking public feedback.

The COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel is made up of medical and legislative leaders from across the state. The EVAP will make recommendations on how and when to roll out vaccine to other critical groups.

“These guiding principles established by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel will ensure that the State of Texas swiftly distributes the COVID-19 vaccine to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized,” said Governor Abbott in a release. “This foundation for the allocation process will help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, protect the most vulnerable Texans, and safeguard crucial state resources.” 

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