Hundreds of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine are on the way to Texas during the second week of the vaccine distribution. This is the first week that the Moderna vaccine will be distributed, and the first shipments are expected to arrive in 20 Texas cities on Monday. Texas will get 620,000 doses of the vaccine statewide ahead of Christmas, according to the DSHS.
The CDC will send shipments to more than 1,100 providers in 185 Texas counties, over the next three days. The majority of that – 460,500 doses – will be the new Moderna vaccine, which the FDA approved for emergency use distribution late last week. According to DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt, “Adding the Moderna vaccine will dramatically increase the amount of vaccine that can go to rural areas and smaller providers because it ships in smaller quantities and can be stored longer at regular refrigerator temperatures.”
Pfizer will also send out another 159,000 vials. Both vaccines have been proven to be approximately 95% effective against the virus. According to the DSHS COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, 26,007 vaccine doses had been administered in Texas across 184 counties as of Sunday night.
As for Kerr County, according to Peterson Health’s chief medical officer Dr. Mack Blanton, the hospital expects to receive the Moderna vaccine sometime in the next seven to ten days. Pfizer’s vaccine will not be made available at PRMC until late January due to the necessary storage requirements. The vaccine must be stored at minus-70 degrees celsius, and Peterson is currently working on making necessary storage accomodations in order to house the vaccine.
A federal advisory panel recommended Sunday that people 75 years of age and older along with essential workers like firefighters, teachers, and grocery store workers should be next in line for COVID-19 shots. Earlier this month, the CDC said health care workers and nursing home residents should be at the very front of the line for vaccines. It is estimated that by the end of February, almost 50 million people will have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
CVS Health has officially announced the launch of its COVID-19 vaccination program aimed to help those in long-term care facilities. CVS Health representatives say they’ll start giving vaccinations in 12 states Monday, but the shots in Texas will begin Dec. 28. They say vaccines will be in more than 2,000 nursing and assisted living facilities, and more than 275,000 patients will be vaccinated through the program in Texas. In all, the program will provide vaccinations for 4 million long-term care residents and staff at more than 40,000 facilities in the country.
As of Dec. 19, Texas has officially reported 1,398,281 confirmed cases and 175,607 probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. Over the past seven days, the state has seen an average of 12,371 new confirmed cases and 2,765 new probable cases each day. As of Dec. 19, the state has officially reported 25,226 deaths. Over the past seven days, Texas has reported an average of 204 deaths each day.
In Gillespie County, there are currently 160 official active cases of the novel coronavirus and the county’s death toll has risen to 16. There are currently 12 patients hospitalized at Hill Country Memorial Hospital due to virus complications. San Antonio’s hospitals continue seeing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Sunday was the second highest number of hospitalizations in a 24-hour span since the pandemic began.