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Gov. Greg Abbott says COVID-19 vaccine will go to health care workers, vulnerable Texans first

State’s first distribution could begin in December

Medical personnel administer COVID-19 testing at a drive-through site, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in San Antonio. Coronavirus testing in Texas has dropped significantly, mirroring nationwide trends, just as schools reopen and football teams charge ahead with plans to play. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Medical personnel administer COVID-19 testing at a drive-through site, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in San Antonio. Coronavirus testing in Texas has dropped significantly, mirroring nationwide trends, just as schools reopen and football teams charge ahead with plans to play. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the state health department have announced a plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as the virus continues to spread out of control into the holiday season.

The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel has recommended that the vaccine will be allocated for specific groups like healthcare workers, frontline workers and vulnerable populations, the governor’s office said Monday.

The initial distribution of the drug could start as early as December. The office did not say which drug will be distributed, as three vaccines have reported late-stage data for a possible COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, and rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna reported their vaccines were almost 95% effective.

Under the EVAP guidelines, criteria for the vaccine also includes:

  • Texans with health inequalities “due to factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status and geography,” the office said.
  • Cities with an urgent need for the vaccine, based on data.
  • Balanced access for rural and urban communities that have been affected by the virus.

“These guiding principles established by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel will ensure that the State of Texas swiftly distributes the COVID-19 vaccine to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized,” Abbott said. “This foundation for the allocation process will help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, protect the most vulnerable Texans, and safeguard crucial state resources.”

Healthcare workers include hospital staff, EMS workers, staff at long-term health facilities and home healthcare workers.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 8,554 new COVID-19 cases and 89 additional fatalities on Sunday.

The state calculated a one-day high of 12,597 new virus cases on Saturday.

As the country prepares for a possible dark winter amid the holiday traveling and shopping seasons, Abbott has refused to place a lockdown on the state.

A statewide mask order remains in place, but he has ruled out additional lockdowns such as those he implemented in March and June.

The U.S. has recorded at least 12 million reported cases and more than 255,000 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Have questions? Let us know in the prompt below and join KSAT.com on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. for a livestream special on vaccines.

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