Texas to speed COVID-19 shots by devoting more to fewer sites

Coronavirus

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered on Jan. 5, 2021, during a free community clinic held in Mercedes, Texas, offered by Hidalgo County. (Courtesy Photo)

HOUSTON (Reuters) — Texas will allocate about half of its latest COVID-19 vaccine supplies to just 28 health care sites, officials said on Sunday, aiming to speed distribution amid rising infections and hospitalizations.

Distribution efforts in the second most-populous U.S. state have been falling short, with people forced to wait for hours, online registration sites unable to keep up, or vaccine locations abruptly changed because of overwhelming demand.Ineligible people get COVID-19 vaccine ahead of priority groups at Texas clinic’s event 

The state’s positivity rate, or percent of cases testing positive, was 19.2% on Saturday, up nearly 6 percentage points in the past four weeks. New infections rose by nearly 19,000 and more than 13,000 people were hospitalized, up 4,000 in the past four weeks.

Concentrating deliveries will simplify sign ups and provide more shots to eligible residents, the state said in a news release. First-shot allocations are based on estimates of how many people each location could serve.

Department of State Health Services officials were not available to comment.Texas governor gets COVID vaccine, hospitalizations still soaring 

Of the 310,000 doses expected this week in Texas, about 159,000 will be delivered to just 28 locations. Smaller sites will split 38,300 doses and nursing home and long-term care facilities will get 121,875, the state said.

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021

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