It’s the first step in a long road, but businesses are beginning the rollout of Covid vaccinations, CVS accepting patients with appointments to receive their first dose of the vaccine starting today. HEB is also up and running with their vaccination program, and Walgreens is expected to be online in Texas soon as well. Walmart and Sam's Clubs are rolling out their vaccination appointments today.
The federal government is allowing 20 major retailers to step into the national push to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
Appointments are required for all vaccinations, each retailer providing, managing and maintaining their own website for bookings. There isn’t a central clearinghouse for all retailers.
The most important element is getting every qualified individual vaccinated, says Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, and assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine. Every state has their own designations for who qualifies, and different states are beginning with different retailers. In Texas, it’s CVS, Walmart, HEB, and Good Neighbor Pharmacies, which supply smaller neighborhood shops, and individuals must meet the state’s criteria for 1-A or 1-B designation. Dr. Kulkarni reminds us that 1-B is available to anyone 16 or older with a pre-existing chronic medical condition that renders them vulnerable to a severe response to the virus. He suggests not worrying about news of variants from other parts of the world and the potential efficacy of current vaccinations in fighting infection. “There has been no concrete evidence to date of specific vaccine failure against the variants for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”
The frustration for many has been in arranging an appointment and finding a provider.CVS is an opening in making vaccines available to a wider group of people, with all appointments today booked in Richmond, Cypress, Katy, the Woodlands, Pearland and Cleveland, the first CVS sites offering the shots. More will be coming.
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