Governor projects 1 million Texans will be vaccinated by end of year

Greg Abbott also calls for greater use of antibody therapeutic drugs like Regeneron to curb hospitalizations

By the end of December, roughly a million Texans will have already taken the COVID-19 vaccine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a vaccine distribution update on Thursday morning.

By the end of December, roughly a million Texans will have already taken the COVID-19 vaccine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a vaccine distribution update on Thursday morning.

Doses of Pfizer’s vaccine began arriving at Texas hospitals earlier this week. The doses were reserved for frontline health care workers who are constantly exposed to the virus.

“Everybody owes a debt of gratitude to these doctors and nurses who have been on the front line for months now,” Abbott said.

Abbott said that a total of 224,000 doses will have arrived at Texas hospital by Friday. Weekly shipments are expected to increase as other vaccines get approved and production ramps up.

Responding to calls to prioritize teachers in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Abbott said he hopes teachers “will be near the front of the line” to get the vaccine. Abbott said vaccinating teachers will allow students to return to in-person instruction in greater numbers.

As the vaccinations roll out, Texas continues to see a steady increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases that has persisted since October. The numbers are similar to the COVID-19 surge Texas experience in the summer.

Abbott said Texans have a personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus, but also called for greater use of antibody therapeutic drugs, like Regeneron, to help curb hospitalizations.

“There was great discussion when I was at the White House earlier this week about the urgency to make sure these antibody therapy drugs are provided to people,” Abbott said. “These are life-saving antibody therapy drugs that can be put into people who already have COVID-19 to help them recover and help keep them out of hospitals.”

Abbott spoke from a UPS distribution center. The delivery company is the primary partner being used to distribute this vaccine, Abbott said.

UPS officials said each box of vaccine they deliver carries 5,000 doses. The boxes are filled with dry ice to keep the vaccines stabilized and maintain the cold-chain delivery process.

Abbott also confirmed he has not yet taken the vaccine. He said he will do so at the “appropriate time.”