Wednesday afternoon, officials with City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) announced the next priority groups to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus are people 65 years of age and older and those 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
“Because Phase 1B provides the vaccine to high-risk individuals regardless of their work sector or status, it will provide protection for a number of critical populations at an increased risk of getting COVID-19,” said Department of Public Health Director Angela Mora.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has determined the next COVID-19 priority group will begin receiving the vaccine within the next few weeks.
Under Phase 1B the Texas Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP), the state’s body which is setting vaccine priority groups while the vaccines are limited in supply, has identified the next high-risk groups to receive the vaccine. Groups identified include essential workers with the specified underlying medical conditions.
Those critical populations referenced by EVAP are:
- communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other chronic diseases;
- teachers and school staff, to ensure that Texas children can learn in a safe environment;
- social services workers, to ensure that those in need receive care and support;
- workers who maintain critical infrastructure, to support the Texas economy; and
- other frontline workers who are unable to work remotely and are, therefore, more likely to be exposed to COVID-19.
“We applaud the EVAP’s decision to prioritize people 65 years of age and older and those at any age with underlying medical conditions in the next priority group,” Mora said. “The identification of Texans next in line for the vaccine will help us refine our dispensing plans and focus our community education efforts.”
DPH will work with local vaccine providers and partners to ensure that individuals who are 65 years and older, those with the medical conditions listed below, and frontline workers in critical industries have access to the vaccine so they will be protected from COVID-19, while on the job.
The community will be advised once the COVID-19 vaccination is available for the new priority groups in Phase 1B. Information on how to schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine will also be provided. Individuals under 65 years of age with underlying medical conditions will be required to provide an eligibility statement from their medical provider, in order to receive the vaccine.
Texas Phase 1B Vaccine Priorities:
- People 65 years of age and older
- People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
o Chronic kidney disease
o Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
o Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
o Solid organ transplantation
o Obesity and severe obesity (Body Mass Index of 30kg/m2 or higher)
o Sickle Cell Disease
o Type 2 Diabetes
About the Three Vaccine Phases:
- Phase 1: The state anticipates a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Initial efforts will be made to immunize:
o Critical Healthcare and other critical personnel
o Nursing Homes and Assisted Living residents and personnel
o Other essential workers
- Phase 2: There will be a larger number of vaccine doses available. The focus will be to continue vaccinating those critical populations who were not vaccinated during phase one and additional at high-risk groups and critical infrastructure workers.
- Phase 3: The state anticipates a sufficient supply of vaccines doses available to all members of the population who wish to vaccinate.
The COVID-19 vaccine will initially be an adult vaccine; however, once the vaccine is approved for pediatric use more information will be provided.
For more COVID-19 information about the community’s vaccine plan as well as testing, data and prevention, visit www.EPStrong.org.