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Thousands of teens eligible for COVID-19 vaccine through Texas Children's Hospital

The hospital has identified more than 85,000 patients in its healthcare system who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B.

HOUSTON — The nation’s largest children’s hospital is on a mission to vaccinate teens and young adults most at risk of getting sick from COVID-19.

Texas Children’s Hospital pediatrician-in-chief Dr. Jim Versalovic said thousands of its patients are eligible for the vaccine.

Dr. Versalovic said the hospital has identified more than 85,000 patients in its healthcare system who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B.

“These are adolescents and young adults who have underlying medical conditions and these underlying medical conditions put them at greater risk for COVID-19,” Dr. Versalovic said.

He said these patients suffer from things like obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer among other things.

Dr. Versalovic had seen firsthand the impact the virus has had on kids and young adults.

“We’ve cared for many children during this pandemic who’ve been hospitalized with COVID-19,” he said. “Some have had primary COVID pneumonia. Others have had COVID-19 on top of their chronic conditions."

Since Jan. 12, Texas Children’s has vaccinated more than 5,500 of those eligible patients.

Dr. Versalovic said it’s now a race against time to deliver the shot to as many of their patients as possible.

“We’re committed to winning this war against COVID-19. We need vaccines in addition to the masking, the distancing, all the safety behaviors. Together doing all of that we can win the war and keep our children and our patients safe," he said.