As of this writing, nearly 9.8% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. That puts Texas at #46 on the list of states, #50 if you count U.S. territories.
The Department of State Health Services says one thing directly impacting those numbers is the amount of vaccine Texas is getting. Cayla Harris has been covering the back and forth for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.
Who can get a vaccine in Texas:
Phase 1C opens up in Texas Monday.
“Anyone 50 and older is eligible for the vaccine starting today, so that 50 to 64 age group wasn’t previously eligible, might have crossed into some other groups. But that’s the new age range.”
Why Texas is getting fewer doses this week:
“That’s because of a little bit of a difference in the Johnson & Johnson allocation. State leaders say that there was a bit of a federal shortage on that end. Originally, they thought we weren’t going to get any of the J&J doses at all, but now we’re going to get some of them, just not as many as we did last week when we got more than one million doses, I believe, for the first time. So this week, it’s just in the in the high hundreds of thousands.”
Why state leaders say Texas is being shortchanged:
State and federal leaders are meeting this week to address this concern about the number of vaccines being allocated to Texas.
“State leaders are basically saying that the federal government is using old population data. It’s a five-year average of population data from 2014 to 2018 to calculate the allocations each week to the states. And, because Texas has such a fast population growth and in 2020 was the fastest growing state, etc. that those numbers may be shortchanging Texas on quite a few doses.”
Whether Texas’ participation in the census count makes a difference:
Texas had resisted a more accurate census count but Harris says that issue doesn’t really come into play here.
“It’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison because we have some population figures, regardless, that would change Texas’ allocation. And so it’s almost like a, ‘reap what you sow’ comment if someone wants to make that kind of assertion. But it’s not directly related.”
Other reasons vaccine distribution might be behind in Texas:
Texas is still catching up somewhat on a week of delays linked to the winter storm that prevented some shipments and distribution. But Harris says that doesn’t fully explain Texas’ low ranking.
“There’s still a little bit where Texas is falling short on physically getting those vaccines in arms. And that kind of leads to questions about what our system looks like and if the eligibility is working, it’s not exactly in line with federal recommendations. And that’s kind of still an open question.”
Texas Standard is collecting stories from across the state about individual journeys to getting COVID-19 vaccinations. We want to hear the positive as well as the negative. If you’re currently eligible or are trying to secure a vaccine for an eligible loved one, share your story here.