COVID-19 Vaccine: Who, When, Where?

Over a million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been allocated to health care providers across Texas and about 174,000 Texans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. To be fully vaccinated, a person must receive two doses of the vaccine, administered about 3-4 weeks apart.  In the first phase of vaccination in Texas (Phase 1A), front line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are eligible for the vaccine.  In the next phase, Phase 1B, which began in late December, vaccines are being administered to seniors age 65 or older and individuals age 16 or older with certain chronic conditions. According to The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), people over age 65 account for more than 70% of Covid-19 deaths, while adults of any age with certain pre-existing conditions have an increased risk of severe disease and death due to Covid-19.  DSHS has posted an interactive map online which allows you to search for vaccine providers in your area.  Eligible individuals should contact their primary care physician or a pharmacy provider for information about scheduling an appointment for a vaccine.

In the Houston metropolitan area, vaccine providers include large hospital systems such as Memorial Hermann, Methodist, and Harris Health, and pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and HEB.  Not all providers, however, are vaccinating the public or people in all eligible groups.  For example, Methodist has begun to vaccinate the patients of Methodist physicians who are age 75 and older, while HEB is still restricting vaccinations to front line health care workers and CVS is providing vaccines at long-term care facilities.  Memorial Hermann has 400,000 patients who are eligible for a vaccination in Phase 1B and is reaching out to 70,000 of them to schedule appointments.  

Due to limited supplies of the vaccine, providers are targeting and prioritizing particular groups of eligible individuals.  Governor Abbott and state health care officials are urging health care providers to speed up the process, to “immediately vaccinate” all eligible Texans and to administer all allocated doses of the vaccine with “deliberate speed,” however there are 8 million people in Texas who are 65 or older or have an eligible chronic condition in Phase 1B and to inoculate all of them would require 16 million doses of the vaccine.