Texas receiving more than 1 million new doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week as eligibility expands

At least a half-dozen states opened eligibility to those 16 and older on Monday

A vaccination record card is shown during a COVID-19 vaccination drive for Spring Branch Independent School District education workers Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Houston. School employees who registered were given the Pfizer vaccine.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults Monday, joining a rapid national expansion as state health officials continue monitoring whether spring break will change a downward trend in cases.

At least a half-dozen states Monday opened eligibility to anyone ages 16 and older.

Texas is receiving more than 1 million new doses this week, and shipments are expected to increase in April, said Imelda Garcia, head of the state’s expert vaccine allocation panel. Vaccination rates in Texas have lagged behind much of the nation. Although officials put some blame on data reporting delays, they acknowledged that some appointment slots are going unfilled.

“We have heard from some of our providers that demand has definitely decreased over the past couple of weeks,” said Garcia, adding that some unused doses are being transferred to other providers.

Texas has administered more than 10 million vaccine doses.

Garcia said it's still too early to tell how spring break affects Texas COVID-19 cases. However, state officials are pleased with recent trends, she said,.

Texas’ seven-day rolling average of new cases did not increase over the past two weeks, going from roughly 4,500 new cases per day on March 13 to about 4,000 on March 27.

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