The Texas Department of State Health Services has announced that it will no longer allocate COVID-19 vaccine to providers on a weekly basis.
According to DSHS, now that the supply of COVID-19 vaccine is regularly exceeding demand, the department will fill vaccine orders from providers as they come in and ship vaccine from the DSHS Pharmacy.
The department said it will also place orders with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a daily basis.
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"This is a big step in vaccine distribution," Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services, said. "The ability to ship vaccine to pharmacies, doctors' offices, and other providers as they need it will go a long way to making sure it is available when and where Texans want to be vaccinated."
Vaccine is widely available at hundreds of locations across Texas, many with no waiting and no appointment needed.
DSHS said convenience will be key to getting the next group of Texans vaccinated, and the department is working with existing providers, employers, and community organizations to make vaccination as easy as possible.
More information on the vaccine, including tools to locate providers, is available at covidvaccine.texas.gov.
With an ample supply of vaccine, providers no longer need to use every dose in the week they receive it but should store it under the conditions that will maximize its shelf life, DSHS said.
DSHS said it encourages providers to vaccinate anyone who wants to be vaccinated, even if that means opening a new vial for that person without knowing whether all doses will be used.
More than 11.3 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 8.3 million are now fully vaccinated, DSHS said. More than half of all eligible Texans have gotten a dose of vaccine, and about 37% are fully vaccinated.
DSHS will also no longer post weekly allocation tables, and the state will also retire the weekly report on vaccine doses reported by providers as wasted.