How Texas will determine where COVID-19 vaccine goes

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many Texans are ready to get vaccinated and it may not be long for some on the frontlines.

Pfizer could get an FDA Emergency Use Authorization as early as next month and hospital systems like Houston Methodist and Memorial Hermann could receive it days after the approval. There are 3,800 vaccine providers statewide. To become a provider, they had to first apply to the state and provide details on things like the population they serve and what type of vaccine storage they have available.

To assist in determining where the vaccine will go and which provider gets it, the Texas Department of State Health Services created a Vaccine Allocation Panel. The panel is comprised of 17 members and Dr. Jennifer Shuford, an infectious disease medical officer for DSHS, is one of the members. She said there are a variety of members.

"Health care professionals and elected leaders, so people who have a lot of knowledge not only about the medical part of it, but how it's applied for public health, and how it affects the populations," said Shuford.

The panel makes recommendations on the vaccine allocation and a lot is taken into consideration.

"We know the places where they're going to need a lot of vaccines for health care professionals. We know places where those providers serve a lot of critical infrastructure workers, and so we have a little bit of insight about which providers are serving what populations," said Shuford.

For example, with the Pfizer vaccine, it comes in batches of 1,000 doses and it must be kept at super cold temperatures. That was a factor.

"With the Pfizer vaccine, that we know will come in packages of about 1,000, we're trying to find places that really have a lot of people that need to be vaccinated all at once," said Shuford.

However, the Moderna vaccine could be good for a different community.

"The Moderna vaccine, that might be right behind it. They're going to have smaller packages, and it'll be able to go to places that might not have a huge patient population," said Shuford.

Once they've identified providers they'd recommend the vaccine go, that information goes to the commissioner of health and ultimately to the CDC. The vaccine will be shipped directly to the provider.

"There's checks and balance in there, but all to make sure to make sure those decisions are sound and are based on evidence," said Shuford.

If you take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine you will need two doses of it. Also, you need to make sure you're taking the same vaccine the second time, so either two doses of Pfizer or two doses of Moderna.

SEE ALSO:

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