Coronavirus In Greater Houston: Pharmacies In Houston Set To Receive COVID-19 Vaccines From The Biden Administration

State health officials say the boost in doses is due to a 30% increase in the Moderna vaccine that’s being provided by the federal government and a one-time return of 126,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that Texas had been required to set aside for vaccinating residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

Jeanne Peters, 95, a rehab patient at The Reservoir, a nursing facility, was given the first COVID-19 vaccination in a Ct. nursing home Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in West Hartford, Conn. Administering the vaccine is Mary Lou Galushko, a CVS pharmacist form North Haven,left. At rear is Bob Atighechi, a CVS pharmacist from Rocky Hill. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn,POOL)

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Updated 8:36 a.m. CT Wednesday

Retail pharmacies in Houston will soon administer COVID-19 vaccines, following an announcement from the White House that the government will begin sending vaccines directly to pharmacies.

The Biden administration will ship about 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a week directly to thousands of pharmacies across the country, in an attempt to address equity concerns and speed up the country's crucial inoculation effort, NPR reported Wednesday.

That includes CVS pharmacies in Texas, according to the company, part of an initial 11-state rollout.

Starting Feb. 11, 70 locations in Texas will offer COVID-19 vaccinations, including pharmacies in the Houston area, though CVS has not yet specified which locations. Abilene, Amarillo, Beaumont, Brownsville, El Paso, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland, Plano, San Antonio and Waco were also chosen.

The initial shipment will contain about 38,000 total doses for the state.

The vaccines will be available to people in the state's 1A and 1B groups.

Updated 11:39 a.m. CT Tuesday

Fort Bend County has received about 12,000 Pfizer vaccines from the state, according to County Judge KP George. The shipment comes after the county was identified as a “vaccine hub” under the state’s distribution plan.

The county’s public health department is currently administering about 1,400 vaccines a day, and George said he expected the county to receive more regular shipments. That doesn't include vaccines being administered by partner organizations in the county, such as Memorial Hermann Sugar Land

“We will be getting vaccines on a regular basis, most likely on a weekly basis we will be getting vaccines,” George said. “So we will continue our effort to vaccinate as many citizens as we can.”

Memorial Hermann Sugar Land is partnering with the county, however, in launching a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.

Vaccinations are by appointment only, and residents can sign up online. As of Tuesday, all drive-thru appointments were temporarily filled.

The site is currently accepting people 65 and older, and those with underlying chronic conditions, in line with the state's phased-in vaccine policy.

About 55,000 people in Fort Bend County have received at least one vaccine dose so far, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Updated 11:15 a.m. CT Monday

AP Photo/LM Otero
Registered nurse, Adele Prieto, left, receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Lesia Turner at the Dallas County mass vaccination site at Fair Park Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Dallas.

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas was scheduled to get more than 520,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week, more than state officials said they had originally expected to receive

Texas Department of State Health Services officials said the boost in doses is due to two factors: a 30% increase in the Moderna vaccine that's being provided by the federal government and a one-time return of 126,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that Texas had been required to set aside for a federal program that is vaccinating residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

The health department said these returned doses will be given to counties where allocations have been significantly less than their share of the population, particularly in the suburban Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas.

The Houston Health Department has said that this week it will focus its vaccine allocation on people at the highest risk for severe illness and those in vulnerable communities.

"We know it is important to vaccinate the people who are the most vulnerable, and they should be among the first to get shots, especially when supply is scarce," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The state has received nearly 2.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Texas providers have administered nearly 2.3 million doses of vaccine, according to the state health department. More than 1.8 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 448,000 have been fully vaccinated.

On Sunday, Texas health officials reported 11,155 new and probable coronavirus cases and 171 more deaths due to the illness caused by the virus.

There have been nearly 2.1 million virus cases and 36,491 deaths as a result of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Texas health department.

Hospitalizations in the state continued to fall, with 11,220 patients reported Sunday. That’s down from a high of 14,218 on Jan. 11.

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