Abbott provides COVID-19 vaccine update with Houston healthcare professionals

Medical directors met with state agency heads and Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday to discuss the state’s medical priorities and coronavirus updates, including vaccine distribution.

Joining the governor and health care professionals were Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System John Zerwas, MD, and Houston Methodist President and CEO Marc Boom, MD.

The discussion included the state’s plan to ensure health care workers were provided with available personal protective equipment, to expand telehealth communications, and reduce hospitalizations by expanding access to antibody therapeutic drugs through therapeutic infusion centers that have been established throughout the state.

Houston Methodist Hospital, where the meeting was held, is one of 77 mass vaccination centers throughout the state. The hospital currently administers an average of more than 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day.

Texas leads the nation in vaccine administration, which Abbott attributed to “the tireless efforts of frontline health care workers, the expansion of vaccine eligibility to Texans 65 years and older, and the establishment of mass vaccination centers throughout the state.

“Our success would not be possible without the men and women working tirelessly on the frontlines to get more shots in arms to keep Texans safe,” Abbott said. “As we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, Texas will work with our public and private partners to reduce hospitalizations, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and ensure a healthier future for the Lone Star State.”

To date, more than 1.7 million vaccine doses have been delivered to providers across Texas and more than 1.3 million doses have already been administered and reported to the state’s immunization registry, ImmTrac2.

Texas has provided 487,500 doses for nursing homes and long term care facilities, which are administered by professionals from CVS and Walgreens.

This week, Texas is slated to receive its largest supply of vaccines totaling 843,000. Of them, 333,650 are first doses and 509,400 are second doses.

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