All Texas adults will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine next week, state announces

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Tuesday morning that vaccine eligibility will be open to adult Texans of any age starting Monday, March 29.

In a release, the DSHS said it expects vaccine supplies to increase next week.

The state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations.

Most vaccines are authorized for people 18 years old and older; the FDA has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

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"We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases," said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. "As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death - such as older adults."

Although eligibility will be open to all adults, the DSHS has directed providers to prioritize people 80 years old and older when scheduling appointments, immediately moving them to the front of the line.

The DSHS also announced that it will launch a website to allow people to register for the vaccine through public health providers next week.

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.

The department will also launch a toll-free number for those who cannot make an appointment online.

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SEE ALSO: More than 20 percent of Texans may have COVID-19 antibodies, study shows
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UTHealth teamed up with the state to conduct this survey and preliminary data estimates that 14% to 24% of Texans have those antibodies.

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