Officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services says nearly 3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the Lone Star State, including about 700,000 of which were given in the last week.
During a media briefing Thursday morning, the DSHS said 2.1 million Texans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and that 620,000 Texans are considered to be fully vaccinated against the virus.
Imelda Garcia, the associate commissioner with the DSHS" Division for Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services, said Thursday that 913,477 people over the age of 65 have received more than one million doses so far -- a ratio of about 1 out of every 4 people in that age group.
By contrast, the DSHS said about 1 out of every 10 people over the age of 16 have been vaccinated -- 16 is the youngest you can be and receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Garcia said 490,000 of the 640,000 Texans now eligible for their second dose have already received their second dose. She said 145,000 people are currently in the desired window to receive the second dose and that only 6,000 people are overdue for their second dose.
For those 6,000 who are overdue, or for those who worry about being overdue for their second dose, Garcia urged those people to get their second dose as soon as they can even if they are seven or eight weeks since the first dose.
Garcia said the state had nearly 600,000 doses to allocate last week, allowing them to send more doses to counties like Denton and Collin who had received fewer doses compared to their proportion of the population. The availability of additional vaccine allowed the state to do a "targeted allocation" and provide more vaccine to those counties this week. Next week, Garcia expected those counties to return to normal allocation levels.
Though allocation levels are expected to return to normal next week, about 400,000 doses for the entire state, Garcia said she'd love to see the state have about a million doses per week to administer to Texans. She said state leaders are advocating each week for every dose and that it's the health department's expectation that every dose distributed be used within the week.
The vaccine is currently only being administered to those who are part of Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those in Phase 1A are front-line healthcare workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over the age of 65, or those over the age of 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe illness.
The DSHS said Feb. 4 they are continuing to discuss when to expand vaccine availability to group 1C and whether or not that group will include teachers.
Once vaccinated, people are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since the vaccine does not offer 100% protection.
The Texas DSHS advises that the vaccine will not be readily available for the general public until late spring or early summer 2021.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.
Hospitalizations Trending Down Statewide
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Wednesday reported 10,827 hospitalizations. The state had a record high of 14,218 hospitalized on Jan. 11.
More than 37,650 people in Texas have died from COVID-19, the third-highest death count in the U.S., according to data from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Texas has remained mostly constant around 20,152 per day, according to Johns Hopkins.