Austin mayor: Texas COVID-19 vaccine should have gone to essential workers before all adults

Texas Coronavirus Vaccine

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the state of Texas opens up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults, Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he thinks essential workers and the most vulnerable should still be the main priority.

Adler expressed this concern during an Austin Public Health meeting just minutes after the Texas Department of State Health Services’ announcement.

“I’m not sure I like that the state’s moving us to everybody being available for vaccines right now,” Adler said. “On the one hand you want to be able to get to that point. I wish that our next move had been to focus on essential workers and people that are really at the crossroads of passing this infection on to others.”

Expanded eligibility will begin Monday, March 29 for all adults due to an increased supply, the department says. So far, DSHS says 9.3 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Texas, including over 6 million first doses.

More than 3 million are currently vaccinated.

Texas Department of State Health Services announces all adults will be eligible for the vaccine starting March 29.

A new website will launch next week to register for the vaccine through a public health provider, DSHS says.

Despite the widened parameters, DSHS says people 80 and older will still be prioritized ahead of others — and they now won’t need an appointment to get vaccinated.

Adler said focusing on these groups alone would have been a “wiser public health choice.”

Despite increased vaccination numbers, the mayor’s concerns still remain — in addition to worries that volunteers and site workers will be overwhelmed.

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