Texas opens Covid vaccine eligibility to people 50 and older as it lifts mask mandate, opens businesses

Ron Votral receives a vaccine towards the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) at a drive-through vaccination web site in Robstown, Texas, February 9, 2021.

Go Nakamura | Reuters

Texas will permit residents ages 50 and over to obtain Covid-19 vaccines starting March 15, changing into probably the most populated U.S. state to broaden eligibility to the age group up to now, the state’s division of well being introduced on Wednesday.

So far, Texas has allowed front-line health-care employees, people with underlying well being situations and these 65 and older to obtain a shot. The state introduced final week that it would instantly embrace faculty and child-care employees to its vaccine eligibility listing as nicely.

By increasing eligibility to people over 50, the state goals to shield people most in danger for extreme illness from the virus, the division mentioned in an announcement. The transfer will add 5 million extra Texans to the state’s precedence listing, although greater than 1 million of them have already been vaccinated.

“Expanding to ages 50 to 64 will continue the state’s priorities of protecting those at the greatest risk of severe outcomes and preserving the state’s health care system,” Imelda Garcia, Department of State Health Services affiliate commissioner for laboratory and infectious illness providers, mentioned in an announcement.

More than half of the state’s seniors have acquired not less than one dose of vaccine and practically a 3rd are totally vaccinated, in accordance to the DSHS.

Wednesday additionally marked the top of the Lone Star State’s mask mandate, and businesses at the moment are allowed to reopen at 100% capability, Gov. Greg Abbott introduced final week, pointing to the state’s improve in vaccine eligibility, decline in new circumstances and ample hospital capability as reasoning.

Alaska on Tuesday grew to become the primary state to open vaccine eligibility to all residents who’re 16 and older.

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