Texas Governor Greg Abbott Says COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Will Accelerate

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More than 877,000 Texans have received a COVID-19 vaccine since they began arriving in Texas nearly four weeks ago, and that number is expected to increase by at least 50,000 more per day, Governor Greg said on Monday. Abbott.

“Never before in the history of this state has Texas vaccinated so many people so quickly,” Abbott said during an address at Arlington Esports Stadium & Expo Center, a new “vaccination center” that, according to local health officials, could immunize thousands of people per day. . “It’s amazing to see what we’ve accomplished.”

The Arlington center, which has been home to the city’s mass vaccination effort since December, is one of 28 sites designed by the state as hubs.

“Our goal is that by the end of the week we have no more vaccines,” said Judge B. Glen Whitley of Tarrant County. The county health district was allocated 9,000 doses in the last shipment this week.

The centers are intended to streamline vaccinations at a time when the state is experiencing an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Texas continues to prioritize the vaccination of healthcare workers, people 65 years of age and older, and those with health conditions that increase their risk of hospitalization or death if they contract the virus.

Large sites will receive most of the state’s next shipment of 158,825 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week. Just over 38,000 doses will go to 206 additional providers across the state, including several in rural counties that until recently had not received an allocation.

Officials promise larger allocations in the weeks and months to come, but a disparate local vaccine distribution system, among others, has created a tumultuous rollout of the long-awaited vaccine.

On Monday, Abbott said Texas expects to see 310,000 additional first doses per week for the remainder of January and up to 500,000 second doses reserved for those who have already received the injection in Texas. Continued increases are expected, Abbott said, based on federal government allocations.

“This structure [of hubs] that we have now created can be expanded and will expand very quickly across the state, ”Abbott said. The only limitation we face now is the limitation of supply. The state of Texas does not control the vaccine supply. The vaccine supply comes solely from the federal government, and for them, it comes largely from the manufacturing capabilities “of the companies making the vaccine.”

Two vaccines, by Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, have been approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration and are distributed nationwide. A third company, Johnson & Johnson, could seek emergency approval of its vaccine from the FDA as early as February.

The number of doses that have been administered to date include those administered in hospitals, clinics and other providers, as well as those administered under a federal inoculation program for residents of long-term care facilities. term and nursing homes, Abbott said.

Data on the number of doses given has a reporting delay of at least two days, Abbott said, but added that Texans would start to see a significant increase in those numbers as this week’s vaccinations are reported.

“You’re going to see those numbers increase, as it turns out, somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 a day,” Abbott said.

Texas Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt said the pace and scale of the state’s deployment has been “a truly incredible operation” and said establishing the centers would increase the rate of administration.

“Thanks to the type of vaccination operation that we are seeing here, we are very confident that it will accelerate even more here,” Hellerstedt said. “This is really the way to go.”

Abbott and other health officials at the Arlington site on Monday urged residents and suppliers in Texas to be patient as the state’s supply catches up with demand among those eligible for the shot.

“We will get more vaccine and we will find better ways to get the vaccine in a timely manner to everyone who is ready to get it, but we just don’t have that supply yet,” Hellerstedt said. “I cannot say this more categorically. If we had more, there would be more exits.

Abbott said on Monday that he and other governors were pushing Walgreens and CVS to speed up their programs to get vaccines to residents of nursing homes and long-term care more quickly. This process, he said, “is progressing at a much slower rate than the state of Texas is progressing at.”

Abbott said 487,500 doses have been assigned to long-term care facilities by CVS and Walgreens, but only 75,312 of those doses have been given, or about 15%.

“Which means the rest hasn’t been distributed or hasn’t been reported yet,” Abbott said. “There is no reason why this process should go as slowly as it is.”

Officials at Walgreens and CVS could not be reached immediately for comment on Monday.

Just over 2 million doses have been allocated to the state since mid-December, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Texas delivered the first dose of the two-dose regimen to more people than any other state in the country, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but demand among the more than 8 million people currently eligible exceeds by far the state vaccine supply.

More vaccination centers will be announced as weekly shipments increase, health officials say. Announcing the plan last week, DSHS said hubs will be required to set up registration phone numbers and websites and focus on the most vulnerable communities in their regions. Contact details for the hubs are available here.

The effort comes as production of various COVID-19 vaccine candidates ramps up in anticipation of federal approval, two of which are produced in Texas.

Texas A&M University officials announced on Monday that a biotech production facility at College Station has started making two different COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are heading for federal approval for emergency use under of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.

Under a $ 265 million contract with the federal government, the Texas A&M University System Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing – which is owned and operated by FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies – was approached last summer to manufacture en masse a vaccine developed by Maryland. based on Novavax.

Candidate Novavax began phase three trials in the United States and Mexico in December.

The College Station facility has grown and added approximately 260 positions since April.

“Our team has been working around the clock since July and we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Gerry Farrell, COO of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. “Our team is very proud and satisfied to be part of the solution to the pandemic.”

Disclosure: Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University System have financially supported the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a full list here.

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