On Friday, the Lone Star State hit a milestone of more than 10 million people vaccinated. Still, approximately 12 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
Imelda Garcia of the Texas Department of State Health Services says approximately one-third of Texans over 16 have received one shot. Two-thirds of seniors have gotten one dose, and 43 percent of seniors are fully vaccinated.
Garcia says seniors will now get to "skip the line." All vaccination facilities are encouraged to move them "...to the top of the waiting list and moving them to the front of the line if they show up to get vaccinated, and this is regardless of whether or not they have an appointment."
On Monday DSHS also introduced the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler, a new platform that allows Texans to sign up for, and schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The platform will not involve all health departments.
Garcia says "those that have their own scheduling tools can continue to use them. But it will be a centralized sign-up for public health providers in some rural, and medium-sized towns and cities…"
Nancy Ejuma, also with DSHS, said the primary goal behind the new platform is to "ensure we have a place to identify Texans who are ready and willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine."
Though those ages 16 and 17 are now eligible to get vaccinated, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those under age 18.