HOUSTON – Houston’s chief medical officer said hospitals will be the first facilities in the area to receive a coronavirus vaccine once it’s available locally.
“We’ll be protecting healthcare workers, but in particular these are healthcare workers who are in the practice of caring for COVID positive patients,” Dr. David Persse said on Monday.
The shots would also be available at places you would expect to get a vaccine like a doctor’s office or clinic.
“We’ll be prioritizing those communities that have increased risk and less availability due to all kinds of healthcare inequities,” Persse said.
Also on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office along with the Texas Department of State Health Services released a distribution plan that explained who would get the vaccine first.
The list includes healthcare workers, frontline workers and people in vulnerable populations who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19.
The governor’s office said factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status and geography would also play a role in the process.
So how long will the average person have to wait?
“I’m hearing April is a common answer to that question but I would put a little asterisk with that answer because we’re going to have to wait and see how fast it comes out and how fast it’s consumed,” Persse said.
While several potential vaccines have reported encouraging results over the past week, a timeline will depend on when the federal government approves a vaccine.
Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, compared the efforts to distribute the flu vaccine.
“While it is going to be daunting vaccinating so many Americans in a relatively quick period of time, it’s not like we haven’t done similar things before,” Hotez said.
The health department expects to receive the vaccines from the manufacturer, Persse said.