Texas Gov. Says State Surpassed 1M COVID Vaccine Recipients After Two Key Moves Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020. (Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 15 January 2021 05:15 PM
Two key adjustments to the process enabled Texas to become the first state to administer at least 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.
Speaking on Fox News Network, Abbott said allowing people age 65 and up to receive the vaccine, as well as opening mass vaccination centers, permitted Texas to vaccinate more than 1.1 million Texans, and administer more than 61 percent of the vaccines allocated to Texas.
"We changed the strategy before other states and before the United States began recommending that we begin to vaccinate people aged 65 and older," Abbott said.
"Texas went ahead and made that decision ourselves knowing that it would widen the pool of the people who could be vaccinated, and very importantly, the pool of people who would be most likely to lose their lives because of contracting COVID.
"Secondly, we have set up these mass vaccination centers this past weekend, and this week, we have 28 mass vaccination centers across the state of Texas where they are capable of doing 1,000 to 3,000, maybe sometimes 4,000 vaccinations per day at any one particular location."
Abbott admitted the Lonestar State struggled in its first week after the vaccine became available. Steady strides, however, have been made during the last three weeks.
Besides the mass vaccination centers, the Republican governor said Texas had about 200 additional locations that can provide hundreds of vaccines each day. Aboott added his state now was administering between 300,000 to 500,00 doses daily.
Texans who receive the first dose are registered with ImmTrac2, the Texas Immunization Registry. That way, officials can inform patients when their second doses are ready.
Abbott was asked if other states have called seeking advice regarding vaccine distribution.
"We visit with our fellow governors all the time about different strategies, whether it be the vaccines or testing and other things," he said. "One thing we've seen through the course of the pandemic is the governors work very collaboratively together. We all learn from each other.
"We learn best practices and as you can tell from what the Georgia governor was just talking about, the state of Georgia now realizes that expanding to adults age 65 and older is a good strategy to provide more vaccines to more people in each and every state."