TEXAS, USA — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday held a news conference in Austin outside of its UPS Distribution Center to announce that Texas has received an additional 129,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that will be distributed throughout the state.
Before Thursday, Texas had received roughly 95,000 doses, according to Abbott.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reports 697 people have received the first dose thus far.
Front line doctors and nurses have been among the first group of people who have received vaccine in Texas.
“Everybody owes a debt of gratitude to these doctors and nurses who have been on the front line for months now," said Abbott. "Working around the clock, sacrificing their own lives for the health and safety of their fellow Texans.”
Abbott said the next step will be administering the vaccine to Texas' most vulnerable population which includes seniors, those in nursing homes and those with serious health issues.
During the press conference, Abbott explained Texas gets a weekly allocation of vaccine shots and UPS makes the deliveries.
So far, 110 hospitals across Texas have received the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
Abbott hopes in about a month, UPS will start delivering vaccines to more than just hospitals. Next on the list will be places like health care centers, clinics, urgent care centers, long-term health care facilities and pharmacies.
Abbott said the amount of COVID vaccines allocated to Texas should increase each week and with the addition of the Moderna vaccine -- which is still awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA -- more than one million Texans should be vaccinated this month.
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When will the general public get the vaccine?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have said average Americans are not likely to start getting the vaccine until March or April 2021.
Supply and worldwide demand will play a factor, but that supply will increase as more vaccines are approved. Canada and Britain had already approved the Pfizer vaccine before the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.
How effective are the vaccines?
Pfizer has reported its vaccine to be 94.5% effective in clinical trials. Moderna has said its vaccine is 95% effective.
The vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University suggest the vaccine is about 70% safe. Still, experts say the AstraZeneca vaccine seems likely to be approved, despite some confusion in the results and lower levels of protection than what some other vaccine candidates have shown.