Texas expects largest shipment yet of COVID-19 vaccine

More than 1.3 million Texans have now been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on the state’s vaccination efforts Tuesday after meeting with healthcare experts at Houston Methodist Hospital Tuesday.

He said there are now 78 vaccination hubs up and operating across the state. That number is expected to grow before the end of the week.

Texas expects to receive a total of 800,000 doses of the vaccine from the federal government this week. That includes 330,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna and additional second doses for those who have already received their first dose.

"This week we're slated to receive our largest supply of vaccines to date," Abbott said.

Abbott is confident drug companies like Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca will roll out their own vaccines soon and that should make getting the vaccine easier and quicker, he said.

"Dr. Fauci said we should be weeks, not months away, from getting additional vaccines," Abbott said.

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS have also been working to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities but the governor believes they need to pick up the pace, saying they’ve only administered roughly 30% of the available doses to that population.

"We as a state continue to insist that Walgreens and CVS pick up their pace," Abbott said.

Abbott was criticized for not inviting Houston’s Democratic mayor or the county judge, who is also a Democrat, to Tuesday’s roundtable discussion.

Harris County has distributed more COVID-19 shots than any other county in Texas with Dallas County coming in second. The number of new infections there has also increased by 40% in just the past two weeks.

Many medical providers are also advocating for underserved communities.

"With these problems with trust, messaging, distribution and access these are real hurdles we need to address," said Allison N. Winnike, J.D., President and CEO, The Immunization Partnership.

Several doctors took part in a discussion hosted by the advocacy group Children at Risk. They want better outreach and vaccine accessibility for all Texans.

"It’s essential that all members in our community have a chance to learn about these vaccines so they feel comfortable getting vaccinated," Claire Bocchini, M.D., Infectious Disease Specialist, Texas Children's Hospital.

Overall, the state's top doctor is confident in the direction vaccinations are going.

"It's the first time we can go on offense if you will against COVID-19 so that we can ultimately have a victory," said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner.

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