The state of Texas has announced that anyone 50 years of age or older is going to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as of next week.
"We've seen a remarkable decrease in the number of hospitalizations and deaths since people 65 and older started becoming fully vaccinated in January," said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. "Expanding to ages 50 to 64 will continue the state's priorities of protecting those at the greatest risk of severe outcomes and preserving the state's health care system."
The new rules go into effect on March 15.
DSHS released the following statement:
According to death certificate data collected over the course of the pandemic, 93% of Texas fatalities directly caused by COVID-19 are in people 50 years old and older. All people at least age 65, which account for 73% of COVID-19 deaths, are currently eligible for vaccination in Texas. Expanding vaccination to those who are at least 50 years old will protect the next most vulnerable group and advance the state’s dual priorities of reducing the burden of disease on people at the greatest risk of hospitalization and death and protecting the health care system.
Phase 1C of vaccination will include those 50 and older, an age group for which there is strong and consistent evidence of COVID-19’s life-threatening effects. Preventing the disease among people in this age group will dramatically reduce the number of Texans who die from the disease across all races, ethnicities and occupations.
As Texas progresses into Phase 1C in the coming weeks, the state will continue to work with vaccine providers and other local partners to ensure that people who are in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C have access to the vaccine. Individual providers will have the flexibility to further prioritize vaccination within these groups. Texas will continue to strive to ensure that vaccine reaches communities with health disparities and people whose work puts them at a greater risk of exposure, in accordance with the Texas Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles. Communication and outreach will encourage vaccine uptake among eligible members of these populations during Phase 1C."
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