Just a few months ago, less than half of the U.S. population stated that they would get the COVID-19 vaccine despite its proven effectiveness against the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. Now, with thousands of “I got my vaccine!” photos trending on social media, over 70% of the U.S. population is on board. But there’s a problem: So far, the U.S. has only distributed 31.6 million doses across all 50 states. That’s only about 10% of the 328.2 million people that make up our total population. That being said, if you’re young and healthy (or able to stay at home safely until our supply increases), your health care workers are begging you not to get in line for the vaccine… yet.
Over the past year, we’ve learned that the COVID-19 virus affects everyone, young and old. However, it tends to cause more severe complications in those above the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Although the ultimate goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, with such limited vaccine supply, we have to prioritize those in high risk categories first.
A little perspective:
Texas’ vaccine roll-out plan is listed below but is not exactly the same as the CDC recommendations which can be found here.
a. Health care workers and first responders, long term care facility residents
b. People aged 65 years or older, people aged 16-64 (although Moderna is approved for those 18 and older only as of Jan 13, 2021) with high risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in Phase 1A.
As of January 13th, Texas has distributed 2M vaccines, which accounts for less than 7 percent of its 29M person population (Houston alone makes up 2.31M Texas residents).
The state has estimated the number of Texans who qualify for phase 1A to be 1.9M people.
Over 4M Texans are over the age of 65.
If Texas only vaccinated health care workers, first responders, and those above 65 who desired the vaccine (5.9M multiplied by 70% of the population that wants the vaccine), it would need 4.13M doses, or 2.13M more doses than it has received thus far.
That calculation does NOT include those with pre-existing conditions, which is an estimated 27% of nonelderly adults, or 6.75M Texans. If Texas was to truly get through phase 1A and phase 1B, the state would need 8.9M doses, or 6.9M more doses than received thus far.
Additionally, since both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require 2 doses to be 94.1% effective, Texas would need to be promised the same amount for dose 2.
As health care workers, we are SO excited to see so many people geared up and ready to get the vaccine. Keep that energy with you as we work together to vaccinate our community as quickly and efficiently as possible. The government is currently estimating that the vaccine will be available to the general public in the Spring of 2021. This may change, so continue to monitor the state and CDC website for more new developments. Until then, social distance, wear masks, and urge your healthy colleagues to be patient.