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Posted on: December 8, 2020

Texas Department of State Health Services Updates COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan


On Dec. 21, 2020 the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced Phase 1B that will provide a vaccine to high-risk individuals next in the distribution process for the state. This phase has been added to the agency's First Tier distribution process that was approved Dec. 4, 2020. DSHS announced individuals who meet the below Phase 1B criteria can receive a vaccination in the coming weeks, dependent on the state's vaccine availability.

  • Individuals who are 65 years and older
  • Individuals who are 16 years and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and sever obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle Cell Disease
    • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Individuals who meet the Phase 1B criteria are encouraged to speak with their primary care physician or view the additional resources links list below. 

The DSHS serves as the lead agency in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution for Texas. In doing so, the state agency appointed experts into the COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) to develop vaccine distribution strategies with the Texas Commissioner of Health for approval. This month, the DSHS approved a vaccine distribution two-tier process shown below.

Additionally, the state's vaccine distribution plans will follow the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed process, which includes vaccines approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

As of Dec. 4, 2020 the DSHS approved a vaccine distribution two-tier process shown below. 

First TierSecond Tier
  1. Hospital staff working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19.
  2. Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents.
  3. EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport. 
  4. Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients. 
  5. Residents of long-term care facilities.
  1. Staff in outpatient care offices.
  2. Staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics. 
  3. Community pharmacy staff.
  4. Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations. 
  5. Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19.
  6. School nurses.

Additional Resources

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