Local pharmacies can start vaccinating people in 1B phase ‘immediately’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas health officials are giving local pharmacies the go-ahead to start vaccinating those in Phase 1B for COVID-19 while Phase 1A is still underway.

On Tuesday, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt released the following statement to local providers with shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine:

“All providers that have received COVID-19 vaccine must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65 and people with medical conditions that put them at a greater risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19. No vaccine should be kept in reserve.”

DSHS reported vaccine supplies are still limited, but more shipments will go out to providers each week.

While Phase 1A of Texas’ COVID-19 vaccine distribution includes frontline and healthcare workers, as well as some first responders, funeral home workers and school nurses, Phase 1B includes those over 65 and people with certain medical conditions.

Originally, DSHS said vaccinations for Phase 1B wouldn’t start for weeks, as the state worked to get those in Phase 1A vaccinated. DSHS said there’s an estimated 1.9 million people in Phase 1A.

Finding a local COVID-19 vaccine provider

The state has set up a map of local vaccine providers across Texas online. While the map is available, DSHS wants to remind you to call ahead to see if the pharmacy or clinic is distributing to priority groups right now.

Some pharmacies, like H-E-B, require an appointment for COVID-19 vaccinations. The company said in a statement to KXAN that walk-ins will not be accepted.

KXAN Reporter Kaitlyn Karmout will have more on how pharmacies are dealing with this rollout change tonight on KXAN News at 9 and 10 p.m.

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