HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Texas is set to begin making COVID-19 vaccines available to any adult who wants one starting Monday.
Texas will become the most populous U.S. state to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults. The state has nearly 30 million residents.READ MORE: Virtual Learning May Remain An Option At Some North Texas School Districts
This will come more than a month before President Joe Biden’s goal of opening vaccine eligibility to everyone by May 1.
“It should be a very exciting day for the entire population because that means everybody who wants one can go get in line and get one,” Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer at Parkland Hospital, said.
In Texas, individuals who are 16 and 17 years old will also be able to get a vaccine starting Monday. But the Texas Department of State Health Services said only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals in that age group.
Although any adult can sign up, residents should still expect to wait as vaccine supply continues to steadily increase.
“So that’s one of the things we’re facing, and this is a particular consideration with this particular vaccine, not only because of the urgency, not only because of the magnitude of COVID, but also because it’s a brand new vaccine,” Dr. Erin Carlson, director of graduate public health programs at the University of Texas at Arlington, said.
County leaders like Denton County Judge Andy Eads said the wait shouldn’t be as long as it’s been.READ MORE: Firefighters Battle Raging Fire At Addison Apartment Complex
“The list is still relatively short. This is not months and months to wait to get a vaccine from Denton County Public Health. It’s just a matter of weeks,” Eads said.
Residents are encouraged to register for the vaccine with as many providers as they’re willing to drive to, especially as it becomes easier to get a shot at local pharmacies.
“They know the needs of their local population, so local pharmacies are absolutely critical to expanding access to the COVID vaccine,” Carlson said.
According to state health officials, more than 30% of all Texans who are at least 16 years old have received at least one dose.
The state will be receiving more than 1 million first doses for this week, with 818,410 doses being shipped to 779 providers and more than 200,000 being given to pharmacies and health centers.
The expansion of eligibility requirements also comes as the state announced it has administered over 10 million doses as of last week.MORE NEWS: Texas COVID-19 Hospitalizations At Lowest Level Since Last June
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)