NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Until now it has been limited to designated groups, but on March 23 the Texas Department of State Health Services announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will open to all adult Texans in one week.

Beginning Monday, March 29 anyone over the age of 18 can get vaccinated.

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Officials said they made the move because providers across the state have made good progress vaccinating people in the current priority groups and they expect vaccine supplies to increase next week.

“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.

But DSHS is still directing vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who arrives at a vaccination site, whether or not they have an appointment.

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Also next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. 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. People can continue to find additional providers though the DSHS Vaccine Information page.

“I think it’s big news, and it’s really exciting that we’re finally getting to the point where we can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, because the more people getting vaccinated, the less disease that’s circulating, and the more we can get back to normal,” Lara Anton, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Online registration is recommended, but for those for whom that is not an option, DSHS will launch a toll-free number to provide assistance making an appointment with a participating provider or locating another provider that has vaccine available.

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To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than 6 million people with at least one dose and more than 3 million fully vaccinated.

CBSDFW.com Staff