Gov. Abbott reassures Texans more COVID-19 vaccines are coming

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Arlington on Monday to tour a mass COVID-19 vaccination site and to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccine efforts in Texas.

The press conference took place at the Arlington Expo Center.

Gov. Abbott spoke to several people from the Dallas-Fort Worth area who traveled to the mega site to receive the vaccine. Many of them told him they had never seen an operation run so effectively and smoothly.

"I want to applaud everyone who streamlined this process," said Abbott. "The process used here in Arlington today is being replicated in many locations across the state of Texas."

He detailed how they shifted the model for this vaccination site from a large number of vaccination distributors to a smaller number of distributors who have the capability of providing an extremely large number of vaccines very quickly. This strategy creates large-scale hub locations, allowing communities to have several locations that can vaccinate thousands of people per day.

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As of Monday, he said 2,067,900 doses have been distributed across Texas. Of that, 877,815 doses have been administered to Texans.

SEE ALSO: How many COVID-19 vaccines have been given out in your state?

Abbott explained why there is a difference between the number of doses that have been provided across the state and the number of doses that have been administered in the state.

"There is lag time. It typically takes two days for that information to be input into the system and for it to be received by the state for it to be reported," he said.

Abbott said there is another reason why some available doses have not been administered. He said some providers are holding doses so that they can provide the second dose to someone who has already received the first dose.

"We have been working with providers to help them understand that they don't need to hold doses because we receive weekly additional doses of the vaccines," he said.

Each week of January, Abbott said the state is expected to receive 310,000 first doses, in addition to between 320,000 and 500,000 second doses.

Abbott also said CVS and Walgreens, working to distribute vaccines in long-term care centers, have been moving at a slower pace than he and others would like. Leaders have been meeting to urge them to speed up the process.

Texas has provided 487,500 doses for nursing homes and long-term care centers so far. As of Sunday, 75,312 doses have been given to long-term care and nursing home residents. And 412,188 doses have either not yet been reported or are waiting to be given to long term care residents.

Gov. Abbott received his vaccine back in December. But, he has also been criticized by many Houston leaders and frontline workers for failing to include teachers in the high priority group to receive the vaccine.

Teachers are still waiting their turn as many of them have returned to in-person classes after the holiday break. Without the vaccine to protect school staff, some teachers say they're upset about returning.

In Houston, the first public free COVID-19 vaccination clinic has received high praise for its execution.

READ MORE: Track COVID-19 vaccine availability and progress across Houston

Dr. Peter Hotez, the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he hopes Houston's clinic becomes a national model. He even congratulated Mayor Sylvester Turner in a tweet Sunday morning on the number of vaccinations the newly-opened clinic has administered so far.

But all appointments available at the site for January have been filled up. Turner is set to reveal on Monday plans to open two COVID-19 vaccine mega sites in the Houston area.
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