Texas’Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel has spoken. As of March 29, all the state’s adults are eligible to for COVID -19 vaccination as supplies increase starting in April.
That changes the questions you may have – and the answers you need. Here are some important ones as the doors open to more Texans.
Who is considered an adult?
People age 18 and older – except for the Pfizer vaccine. If and when they area vailable, Pfizer shots can be given to Texans age 16 and older.
Also:some Texas counties will allow residents age 16-17 to sign up now, should they later be deemed eligible for non-Pfizer vaccines.
Who decided that?
Texas.Federal law provides each state and territory with the power to set this criterion.
Do some people still get priority?
Yes.Texas residents age 80 or older are to be vaccinated before others who are younger, even if they do not have an appointment and simply walk into a vaccine center.
Also warranting “just walk in and get a shot” treatment are Texans legitimately risking severe disease, hospitalization and death, the Texas Department of State HealthServices (DSHS) said in a press release.
Which vaccine is the best to get?
The one you can get the soonest. Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca– clinical trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers show all are effective and safe. Best not to be picky if it means delaying your vaccination.
Remember:getting COVID can be much more dangerous than any vaccine’s side effects.
Also remember: No one’s died from COVID vaccinations, but half a million in the U.S.have died from COVID.
What does the vaccine cost?
Nothing.It is free to everyone.
What if I’m pregnant?
Discuss options about your personal circumstances with a medical expert, such as your health provider. It’s unlikely COVID vaccines pose a risk, and COVID can be very serious for pregnant women but data from studies are limited.
How many Texans must be vaccinated to reach “herd immunity”?
Percentages range up to 90 percent, but 70 percent is the figure most commonly used by health experts.
Can a lower percentage achieve herd immunity? Maybe, but odds in favor of herd immunity increase when more people get vaccinated.
How can I find out about vaccine clinics? Or schedule an appointment?
DSHS also is launching a Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler “to identify upcoming vaccine clinics by DSHS or a participating local health department and be notified when new clinics and appointments become available.” The DSHS vaccine info page is at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine. Under “COVID-19 VaccinationInformation,” click on “Available COVID-19 Vaccines in Texas” for a map of vaccine sites.
ForTexans without internet access, state officials plan to create a COVID telephone hotline. DSHS’ main phone number is (512) 776-7111.
How many people am I competing with to get both shots?
In theory, about 22 million people in Texas are eligible for vaccines. As of April1, about 10 million had received at least one shot and more than 3 million are fully vaccinated, according to state health officials.
U.S.Census figures suggest about 25 percent of those living in Texas are under age18. So, if you’ve received no vaccines, you’re among about 9 million other adults seeking shots.
Can I wait until the lines get shorter?
Sure, but it’s risky. Texas businesses are going back to 100 percent customer capacity and state mask mandates have been lifted. Meanwhile, COVID virus variants are spreading across the nation and could spike as they infect the unvaccinated.
So it’s not safe yet to let our guard down?
No. Being vaccinated is a necessary, but it’s just a first step toward getting our lives back to normal.
What about masks, staying 6 feet apart and washing hands routinely?
Keep wearing masks and maintaining social distances in public until you hear from medical experts that it is OK to do otherwise. And really, there also no need to wash hands less often.
Remember:these vaccines may not be 100% effective, but they are nearly 100% effective and keeping you out of the hospital from COVID.
What are things I definitely should NOT do?
· Do not show up at vaccine centers without signing up first and having a scheduled appointment – unless you are age 80 or above.
· Do not show up at a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic or pharmacy or other such medical locales that do not have vaccines.
· Do not show up anywhere without checking online or phoning first.
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