Campus Life

Coronavirus on the Hilltop: All Adult Texans Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

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Nearly one year since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the vaccine is available to most Texas.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services announced the decision on Tuesday. All adults in the state will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning on Monday.

“This is a step in the right direction towards getting herd immunity for COVID,” said Arthi Krishnan, a physician at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. “This is very good news.”

Next week, DSHS will launch a website and create a toll-free number to register for vaccines through available public health providers.

Although any adult is eligible to receive the shot, the state asked providers to prioritize people over 80 years old.

Right now, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available.

“Now that there’s three vaccines available to be administered, that will also play a role in how fast the vaccine can be distributed,” said Krishnan.

To receive Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, a person must be at least 18 years old. As for Pfizer, the FDA authorized anyone 16 years and older to get the shot; however, Texas mandates parental consent for anyone under 18 to receive the vaccine. Krishnan added that it would be up to each provider with the Pfizer vaccine to determine how they will deal with patients under 18.

Adult students, faculty, and staff have several options to sign up for the vaccine other than the DSHS website. First, in a campus-wide email, the university announced a community partnership with the Methodist Health System. Mustangs have the opportunity to sign up to get a shot through MHS as a piloting phase of their system before they begin vaccinating the general public next week. Registration is available through the initial campus-wide email or online.

Second, SMU announced on Friday, through another campus-wide email, that the SMU vaccination site will receive an allotment of COVID-19 vaccines to distribute to the university community. Online registration began at noon on Friday. The email stated that the first allotment would be 1,700 “first doses” of the Pfizer vaccine and an equal amount of “second doses” for follow-up appointments.

Regardless, the university asked in the email to “please continue to wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often.” Not to mention, after getting the shot, students, faculty, and staff should report it on the Mustang Strong vaccine website.

“Doing so will help the University determine how many vaccines to request and may help inform decisions about operational changes to the campus,” said the campus-wide email.

All in all, vaccine distribution is ramping up in Texas and providing some hope.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Krishnan. “At least for me, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Here’s What Else Happened This Week:

  • The White House said Johnson & Johnson would meet its goal of delivering 20 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of March.
  • Biden set a new goal of distributing 200 million vaccines in his first 100 days of office.
  • AstraZeneca revised its vaccine efficacy rate from 79% to 76%.
  • On Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a program to help pay for COVID-19 funerals across the nation. For coronavirus-related deaths after January 20, 2020, FEMA said they plan to provide up to $9,000 per funeral and up to $35,500 per applicant.
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