HOUSTON – With thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines set to be distributed across Texas next week, the state is asking providers to put an emphasis on people 75 and older.
“The risk really increases with age, and so we just want to really focus on that older adult population, 75 and older, in addition to the other priority groups,” said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
About one in four Texans ages 80-plus have received the vaccine so far, he said.
“It doesn’t really change the eligibility, but this is a priority among the priority groups,” Van Deusen said.
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WellMed focuses on seniors. The East Alief clinic on West Sam Houston Parkway is set to receive 400 doses next week.
“We do have a list and we sort the patients according to age,” said medical director Manasi Kekan. “Our staff is calling the patients, reaching out to their family members and just informing them of when we get the doses.”
She said there’s a reason for focusing on older patients first.
“That is the population that really needs the vaccine,” Kekan said. “They are very high risk.”
The Houston Health Department also plans to prioritize people at the highest risk of severe illness during the week of Feb. 8. About two-thirds of the doses it receives will go to the Area Agency on Aging, which works with seniors.