The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Tuesday all Texans over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning next week.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups,” DSHS said in a news release Tuesday.
The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening the vaccination efforts to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations, the news release indicated.
Most vaccines are authorized for people 18 years old and older, but the FDA has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older.
Those eligible under federal guidelines will be able to receive vaccines on Monday, March 29.
The elderly, however, will still be prioritized.
“DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line,” the news release continued. “That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible.”
Also next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. The public will be able to enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to identify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a participating local health department and be notified when new clinics and appointments become available.
Additional providers can be found through the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.
To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than 6 million people with at least one dose and more than 3 million fully vaccinated, DSHS noted.