Governor Greg Abbott Tuesday held a roundtable discussion alongside healthcare professionals at Houston Methodist Hospital to highlight his legislative priorities to ensure a healthier future for the state of Texas.
Following the roundtable, the Governor provided an update on the State's COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The Governor was joined by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System John Zerwas, MD, and Houston Methodist President and CEO Marc Boom, MD.
During his remarks, Governor Abbott commended staff at Houston Methodist Hospital for serving as a model for vaccine administration. Houston Methodist is one of 77 mass vaccination centers throughout the state, and the hospital currently administers an average of over 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day. The Governor noted that Texas leads the nation in vaccine administration and attributed this achievement to the tireless efforts of frontline health care workers, the expansion of vaccine eligibility to Texans 65 years and older, and the establishment of mass vaccination centers throughout the state.
“Because of our scaled-up capabilities of quickly providing these vaccinations there’s only one limitation that we have at this moment in time and that is an inadequate supply of vaccinations,” said Abbott. “And that supply of vaccinations comes only from the federal government.”
So far, more than 1.7 million vaccine doses have been delivered to providers across Texas. Texas has already administered over 1.3 million doses that have been successfully reported into ImmTrac2, the state’s immunization registry. Texas has also provided 487,500 doses for nursing homes and long term care (LTC) facilities, which are administered by CVS and Walgreens.
Abbott went on to call for these vaccine providers to step up their efforts to ensure that vaccines make it into Texans. “We as a state continue to insist that Walgreens and CVS pick up their pace, because while Texas is now administering 78% of vaccines, Walgreens and CVS are only at 26% of their vaccine administrations.”
The State has also established additional vaccine hub locations, bringing the total number to 77. This week, Texas is slated to receive its largest supply of vaccines totaling 843,000. Of those doses, 333,650 are first doses and 509,400 are second doses.
During the roundtable, the Governor and staff members from Houston Methodist Hospital discussed strategies to build a healthier Texas during and after the pandemic. They also discussed plans to ensure the ongoing availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), expand telehealth communications, and meet the mental health needs of fellow Texans.