The incoming Biden administration announced plans to change the way the federal government distributes vaccines to states.
Meanwhile, the state of Texas is also adjusting how it rolls the vaccines out to local communities to try to expedite vaccinations.
The Biden plan would mean there’s a lot more doses immediately available here in Texas.
Though without the infrastructure in place to actually vaccinate people, there’d be a bottleneck, but state and local officials are tweaking the strategy to expedite getting vaccines out.
On Friday, President-elect Joe Biden criticized the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Warp speed got the virus to places where they were delivered, but did not get it from vials into people’s arms. So it is a gigantic logistical concern of how we do that," Biden explained.
His administration announced it will break from a key Trump administration policy, which has been holding back millions of doses from states to ensure there’s enough for second shots, which are necessary so the vaccines are fully effective.
Biden’s team wants the fed’s stockpile to go to the states, all at once.
His team hasn’t yet shared how it’ll ensure timely second doses are available, but a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine out this week found a strategy like Biden’s could help avoid an "additional 23% to 29% of COVID-19 cases."
"I know very well that there are many questions and concerns about the vaccine rollout in Texas," said Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt.
Meanwhile, DSHS is shifting focus on rolling out the vaccine to large vaccination hubs.
Roughly 75% of next week’s doses will go to large sites, like the Arlington Expo Center.
"We are excited about this new approach," Dr. Hellerstedt said. "We are excited to improve the process for both providers and the public. We’re excited to strike a serious blow against COVID-19."
Starting a week from Monday, the state also anticipates it’ll be able distribute more doses.
Officials said they’ll no longer be required to reserve a quarter of doses received from the feds for a long-term care facility program.
State officials said they’ll share more information Sunday to help people locate and sign up to use the large vaccine hubs.
But counties have made that information ready online too.
State officials also said March is when it may expand into Phase 2 of its rollout, and even hold mass vaccination events for a larger population.
July is when it expects to have enough vaccines to the entire population.