This story has been edited to correct when the State health department expects vaccines to be available to the general public.
Prioritizing of the COVID-19 vaccine to 1A and 1B groups could be lifted as soon as March, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference on Thursday.
"With the amount of the vaccines that we are getting, I would anticipate it being very soon," Abbott said.
It is not clear who will be eligible next for the vaccine at this time. The State health department estimates that vaccines will be available to the general public this spring.
The announcement comes as the state prepares for the largest vaccine shipment yet. President Joe Biden has reportedly told Abbott that Texas is expected to receive "well over a million" vaccine doses with even more to come in the next several days.
Abbott and Biden are set to discuss the winter storm disaster in Houston on Friday, but Abbott said that the two will also visit a vaccine "supersite" to demonstrate that Texas can handle thousands more vaccines.
"The number of vaccines being made available to the state of Texas is increasingly dramatically," Abbott said. "We will also be talking about vaccines as well as the additional amount of vaccines that will be coming to the state of Texas, showing that we will be able to accelerate vaccinations in Texas."
As of Thursday, more than 40% of senior citizens in Texas are reported to have at least one vaccine dose. Abbott said the state expects to have the number climb to 50% in one week in anticipation of the state's biggest vaccine delivery yet and the anticipated Friday approval of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.
Next week, the state will speed up efforts by beginning a "Save our Seniors" program across Texas. Abbott said that 1,100 National Guard members will be deployed across the state to bring vaccines to homebound seniors.
"Some of our seniors do have the ability to go to our vaccine hubs," Abbott said. "However there are other seniors who don't have the physical ability to travel to one of these hubs because they're homebound. Our mission is simple, and that is to get our seniors vaccinated as quickly as possible."
According to Abbott, the state has allocated 8,000 doses to the Save Our Seniors program. However, with the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending approval on Friday, Abbott said they could have up to four times their original number brought to senior residents.
Abbott said that the state hopes to have all willing seniors vaccinated and treat other demographic groups by the end of March.
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Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.
There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.
All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.
🗓 All weekend
Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities
All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park
This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.
6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.
10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park
Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.
Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.
11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway