The Texas Department of State Health Services is instructing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship COVID-19 vaccines to more than 1,100 providers in 185 Texas counties over the next week.
The CDC will deliver 460,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was approved for emergency use late Friday, and 159,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to continue to vaccinate frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
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"Our state will be receiving allocations of a second vaccine able to protect Texans from COVID-19," Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, said. "Adding the Moderna vaccine will dramatically increase the amount of vaccine that can go to rural areas and smaller providers because it ships in smaller quantities and can be stored longer at regular refrigerator temperatures. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe and effective - both can confer protection against COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine you receive."
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Moderna vaccine will begin shipping over the weekend and start arriving on Monday at providers like hospitals, freestanding ERs, EMS providers, pharmacies, local health departments, health centers and other clinics in Texas.
In North Texas next week, 75,200 doses will arrive at 74 locations across 27 counties.
Eight fire departments locally have been allotted Moderna's vaccine in varied amounts.
The Arlington Fire Department will receive 3,000 doses from Moderna, some of which will go to EMS workers who have close contact with COVID-19 patients. The rest could go to home health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
James Boque, deputy chief medical operations with AFD, says the department has a sub-zero freezer, regular freezer, and standard refrigeration units fully operational and ready to store COVID-19 vaccines of any type.
"It's been a big effort by everybody involved, and it's been a priority to make sure we have the ability to participate in the vaccination process," said James Boque, deputy chief medical operations with the Arlington Fire Department.
Arlington will work with Tarrant County Public Health on vaccine distribution.
DSHS said it encourages providers that have received vaccines to partner with other health care facilities and workers in the area to maximize vaccination.
Most of the Pfizer vaccines, 124,800 doses, will go to the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, DSHS said. Vaccination under the program is expected to begin in Texas on Dec. 28.
The remaining doses will be distributed to 29 hospitals that received Pfizer doses this week so that health care workers can continue being vaccinated.
According to DSHS, most of the vaccines for next week are expected to arrive before the Christmas holiday, but with a much larger number of shipments and the short week, some may arrive early the following week, depending on federal shipping timelines.
This week, 224,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered to 110 large providers to begin vaccinating health care workers, DSHS said.
A list of providers that will be receiving vaccines starting next week is available here. DSHS will update that list as information about a few dozen providers is finalized.