COVID-19 Vaccination Update as of November 23rd
Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) today announced the guiding principles for Texas' COVID-19 vaccine allocation process, which will serve as a foundation for the state's initial distribution for COVID-19 vaccines expected as early as next month. These principles have been established by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP), created by DSHS to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions, including identifying groups that should be vaccinated first to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources.
The timeline for the release of a vaccine is still in unknown, but the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is already working the Texas Department of State Health Services and local providers on distributing the vaccine to our community and ensure that the Texas Guiding Principles for Vaccine Distribution.
Texas will allocate COVID-19 vaccines that are in limited supply based on:
- Protecting health care workers who fill a critical role in caring for and preserving the lives of COVID-19 patients and maintaining the health care infrastructure for all who need it.
- Protecting front-line workers who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work providing critical services and preserving the economy.
- Protecting vulnerable populations who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19.
- Mitigating health inequities due to factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status and geography.
- Data-driven allocations using the best available scientific evidence and epidemiology at the time, allowing for flexibility for local conditions.
- Geographic diversity through a balanced approach that considers access in urban and rural communities and in affected ZIP codes.
- Transparency through sharing allocations with the public and seeking public feedback.
Protecting health care workers is essential to keeping the health care system intact and able to care for COVID-19 and other patients, so phase 1A of vaccine distribution, when the vaccine supply is most limited, will focus on making vaccine available to health care workers. To support this distribution, the EVAP has recommended, and the Commissioner of Health has approved, a tiered definition of health care workers specific to Phase 1A. During this phase, the EVAP will make recommendations based on the priority order in the Health Care Workers definition.
Phase 1A: Health Care Workers Definition
- Hospital staff working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19. Includes:
- Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
- Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation services
- Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents. Includes:
- Direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state supported living centers
- Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial, food service staff
- EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport
- Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients
- Staff in outpatient care offices who interact with symptomatic patients. Includes:
- Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
- Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services
- Non 9-1-1 transport for routine care
- Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics
- Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID
- Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations
- Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19. Includes:
- Embalmers and funeral home workers who have direct contact with decedents
- Medical examiners and other medical certifiers who have direct contact with decedents
- School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers
How to become a COVID-19 Vaccinator:
Any facility, organization, or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll.
The first step to becoming a COVID-19 vaccine provider is registering through EnrollTexasIZ.dshs.texas.gov. Only providers registered through this site can receive and administer COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.
For questions about registration, please call the DSHS COVID-19 Vaccine Provider hotline at (877) 835-7750, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or email COVID19VacEnroll@dshs.texas.gov.