Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
Texas will increase vaccine eligibility to all adults starting next Monday, March 29.
While older adults will still be prioritized to receive the vaccine, ages 18 and older will be able to make an appointment. Only one vaccine, Pfizer, has been approved for ages 16 and older and trials are currently taking place to develop a pediatric version of the Moderna vaccine.
Imelda Garcia, the state health department’s associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, explained in a news release that Texas should have enough doses to expand vaccine distribution to all adults.
“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” Garcia said. “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.”
Hays County Health Department Director Tammy Crumley said the expansion of eligibility for recipients is a good thing and she welcomes any changes that allow more of the population who wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine the opportunity to do so.
“Hays County will continue to work with our valued partners, including physicians and pharmacies, as well as Live Oak Health Partners, to get people vaccinated,” she said.
In terms of signing up for the vaccine, Crumley said Hays County still has a pre-registration list that can be found on www.haysinformed.com. Those on the list will be given appointments in the same manner that has been used since the county established a sign-up list earlier this year. All vaccine doses will still be given by appointment only.
“Individuals on the list should still expect to receive an email, text and/or phone call or voice mail with their appointment information,” Crumley said.
According to the DSHS news release, the state is also launching an online sign-up portal soon. 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. In addition, a phone number will be established for those who need assistance signing up for a vaccine. The Hays County Health Department will share that information when it is available.
To date, Hays County has administered more than 25,000 doses (first and second) of the COVID-19 vaccine, the majority of which were from Pfizer.
Currently, Phases 1A, 1B and 1C and childcare workers are eligible to take the vaccine. Phase 1A includes front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities. Phase 1B covers those with pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID?19 illness. Phase 1C includes people 50 to 64 years of age.
The latest information for vaccines in Texas can be found on the DSHS website. Dshs.texas.gov provides information on vaccination hubs, who is eligible for a vaccine, and where to schedule an appointment.
For specific information about receiving a vaccine as a Hays County resident, you can visit the Hays County website.