The Greater Houston-area is set to receive an influx of over 62,000 COVID-19 vaccines this week, driven by an increase in the number of vaccines provided to the state by the federal government and large allocations to Houston-area providers, state officials announced Friday.
“The increase in vaccine available is due to two factors: a 30 percent increase in the number of Moderna doses being provide to the state by the federal government, and a one-time return of 126,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that Texas was required to set aside for the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program,” state health officials said in a release. “The program overestimated the amount of vaccine needed, so doses are being given back to the states.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services said it is allocating the doses from the long-term care program to providers in counties where allocations “have been significantly less than their share of the population, particularly in the suburban Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas.”
Altogether, Texas will receive 520,425 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government for the week of Feb. 1. Over 62,000 of those doses will be given to providers in the Greater Houston-area, including in Harris, Fort Bend, Liberty, Montgomery, Chambers and Galveston Counties. The Harris County’s public health department and the City of Houston’s public health department are slated to receive 9,000 vaccinations each.
In addition to the first doses coming, the state ordered 188,225 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago.
Currently, Texans are eligible for the vaccine only if they are front-line health care workers, nursing home residents, age 65 or older or have a medical condition that puts them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
“Vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it, so it will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for all the people in the priority populations who want to be vaccinated,” state health officials said in a release. “Currently, there is not enough vaccine to supply every provider with vaccine every week.”
As of Friday, Texas providers have administered nearly 2.2 million doses of the vaccine. Over 1.75 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 410,000 have received both doses.