At the same time Texas is lifting all statewide COVID restrictions and mask mandates, the state is also ramping up coronavirus vaccinations. Starting Monday, Texas moves to Phase 1C of vaccinations, allowing anyone age 50 or older to get the shot. State health officials say there are about 5 million Texans between the ages of 50 and 64, and more than a million of them are already vaccinated under Phase 1A or 1B.
In Houston, daily vaccinations continue at several locations, most notably the mega site at NRG Park. Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the Houston Health Department, told a media briefing Wednesday that it has been a careful process to reach this phase of vaccinations. "There is a lot of thought that goes into it," he said. "So Phase 1C will come out soon, but it's a balancing of what is the priority to save the most lives, without releasing it so soon that we have a bunch of people trying to jump the line ahead of 1As that still haven't gotten vaccinated."
Those concerns have lessened with three vaccines now available. "I think we can read between the lines that the state is pretty confident we have a lot of vaccine coming, and we've got the infrastructure in place to get it into people's arms," says Persse.
As for who should get the vaccine, medical leaders are encouraging everyone who is eligible to do so, regardless of whether you've already had the virus. "If you've been infected, you have a low level (of antibodies). That's okay, it's enough to prevent you from getting really sick...but it may not prevent you from carrying the virus," says Dr. Paul Klotman, President and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine. "The vaccination appears to be very good at clearing the body of the virus completely, and giving you a much more robust immune response...so even if you've had the disease and gotten over it, we recommend you get vaccinated."