Texas to prioritize vaccine distribution on severe illness risk rather than profession

BEXAR COUNTY (Texas News Radio) — The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Monday who will be next in line to get the coronavirus vaccine after frontline workers.

Currently, the state is in Phase 1A of its vaccination plan, which will offer the vaccine first to healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients and workers in long-term care facilities and their high risk residents.

In Phase 1B, which was announced Monday, will focus on Texans who are of greater risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 rather than other frontline workers.  This differs from the CDC’s plan.

The Texas plan announced Monday will instead focus on people at highest risk of severe illness rather than prioritizing based on work industry.

Texas’ Phase 1B will be for:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medial condition that put them at risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, which include, but are not limited to:
    • cancer
    • chronic kidney disease
    • COPD
    • heart conditions like heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • solid organ transplantation
    • obesity and severe obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
    • pregnancy
    • sickle cell disease
    • type 2 diabetes

The CDC’s plan for Phase 1B would have people who are 75 years of age or older and ‘frontline essential workers’ be vaccinated.  Phase 1C would have people between the ages of 65 and 74 and people between the ages of 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions be next in line along with ‘other essential workers’.

Essential frontline workers are first responders, educators, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service employees, public transit employees and grocery store workers.

Other essential workers are people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, construction, finance, IT & communication, energy, media, legal, public engineers, and water & wastewater.

Texas DSHS says Phase 1B will begin in a few weeks.

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