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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Despite a 2-0 deficit, there was a pot of gold for Austin FC after all as it celebrated its annual Pride Night with rainbows and a 2-2 comeback draw to FC Dallas Saturday night.
After three FC Dallas losses last season, the Dallas derby draw marks the first time Austin FC has tied against its Copa Texas rival. Austin continues to edge over FC Dallas as it sits at 3rd in the MLS West.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the match:
A somber start
Decked out in colorful hues for LBGTQ+ Pride, Verde fans started the match on a somber note as they held up banners to take a stand against gun violence before the match.
As the national anthem began, fans held up banners with the names of each child that was killed in the Uvalde school shooting and a plea to "end gun violence."
The supporters' section was also dotted with Pride flags and a "Bans off Our Bodies" banner in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FC Dallas earns a 2-0 lead
That sober tone continued onto the pitch. With midfielder Daniel Pereira's absence due to a red card, the Verde and Black lost two goals to FC Dallas by the 70th minute of play.
FC Dallas played it sneaky for the first half of the match, giving Austin FC plenty of room to hold possession as it waited to strike on a Verde error. That mentality proved dangerous for Austin as Dallas' Paul Arriola took advantage of Brad Stuver's deflection to score the first goal of the night in the 57th minute of play.
Dallas struck once more as Brandon Servant pushed past the Verde line to score the second goal of the match.
Austin FC strikes back
But energy quickly returned to Austin's favor thanks to Designated Player Sebastian Driussi, who scooted past several FC Dallas defenders alongside Moussa Djitte to snag an unlikely first goal for Austin.
A full Verde comeback
Austin's subs proved deadly as momentum returned to the home team toward the end of the match. A well-placed cross from Nick Lima—and a diving header from a fresh-legged Danny Hoesen—helped the team secure the draw with a second Verde goal in the 84th minute of play.
Hoesen, who was Austin's first starting striker last season, has now scored two goals with the team after a yearlong injury stuck him on the bench.
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Hours following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion, on Friday, about 1,000 people gathered in Republic Square with signs calling for change.
The rally, organized by the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Texas, started at the federal courthouse on Republic Square on Friday at 5 p.m. before the crowd marched to the Texas Capitol. More protests are expected to ensue over the weekend.
People showed up with all types of signs like Mindy Moffa holding up, "Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers."
Austin joined cities across the country that saw protests for a women's right to an abortion after the ruling.
According to a recent UT poll, 78% of Texas voters support abortion access in most cases.
Sabrina Talghade and Sofia Pellegrini held up signs directed at Texas laws. A Texas trigger law will ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, starting 30 days after the ruling. When state legislators passed the trigger law last summer, it also passed laws for more protection of firearms, including the right to open carry without a permit.
Lili Enthal of Austin yells as around 1,000 Texans marched to the Texas Capitol.
From the Texas Capitol, Zoe Webb lets her voice be heard against the Supreme Court ruling.
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