On Monday, the state identified who is eligible in the next group, called group 1B.
Group 1B includes people who are 65 and older, and people who are 16 and older with chronic medical conditions that include:
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When can people who qualify for group 1B expect to get the vaccine?
According to DSHS, there are eight million people in Texas who are eligible for group 1B, though some of them are also eligible to be vaccinated as part of group 1A as health care workers or long-term care residents. Bill McKeon, the CEO and President of the Texas Medical Center, says it all depends on how much vaccine they receive. Right now, local health leaders are waiting to see if they get any more guidance from the state but as soon as enough vaccine is available, they anticipate 1B vaccinations will begin.
"Any entity that I know of, (that) has vaccine, if they get to the point where the phase 1A folks stop showing up to get vaccinated, they're not going to sit on vaccine. They will probably then transition over to the 1B, and I applaud them for doing that," said Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Authority.
Where will people go to get the vaccine?
There are a number of entities that have signed up to be COVID-19 vaccine providers in Texas. The hope is that a lot of people go to their doctor's office to get a vaccine, but if you don't have a primary care physician, there are other avenues that are in the works.
Dr. Persse says they are going to have to have a network outside of hospitals to ensure people in group 1B get vaccinated.
"In a perfect world, everyone who is on that list would have a primary care physician who would be able to reach out to them and coordinate with them getting vaccinated. We still hope that will happen to a large degree but we also know that there are people who will meet those qualifications who don't necessarily have a primary care physician. So we still need to figure out how we're going to get them, advertise, communicate, educate them on why they should become vaccinated," said Dr. Persse.
If you don't have a primary physician, will you have to prove you fall into one of the 1B categories?
"Is there going to be a check and balance to make sure you really have the disease that you claim? I don't know really how we'd be able to do that, so there's lots of conversations now," said Dr. Persse.
Why did the Texas Vaccine Allocation Panel select those 65 and older and 16 and older with certain medical conditions to be the next group vaccinated?
DSHS said the state is prioritizing people who are at the greatest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19. More than 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the state have occurred in people 65 and older.
When can the general population expect to get the vaccine?
Likely in April or May.
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