Texas has allowed eligibility of vaccination to everyone over 16 while vulnerable people still cannot get access.
On Monday, Texas widened its eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 vaccination. From now on, everyone above 16 years of age is allowed to get vaccinated, irrespective of their health and profession. It is one of the few dozen states to do so, however, the demand is still greater than the supply in Texas. Some people question whether Texas is ready to lift the restrictions even though some of the vulnerable citizens have not had access to vaccination due to overbooking.
The problem of supply is apparently faced more in big cities where population size is making it difficult to find an open slot. Lots of people have faced issues with signing up for vaccination, even if they had been eligible for it for over 2 months. The lack of available appointments, overloaded websites, and lack of follow-up from waiting lists has frustrated the people who are in a dire need of the vaccine. They have now started panicking, wondering what would happen to their situation if the eligibility restrictions are lifted.
Texas officials assure that their priority is still to vaccinate the most vulnerable residents which accumulate to a group of 12-14 million people.
People in rural areas, people with disabilities, and lower-income jobs have also faced an issue with applying for the vaccination. The lack of reliable internet, work flexibility and financial struggles are preventing people from signing up for the vaccine. These issues do not disappear just because more people are eligible for vaccination.
The rural areas of Texas are still witnessing very few people signing up for shots, even in the prioritized eligibility groups. Due to this, the overall strategy of the state is beginning to shift.
They want more people to be vaccinated to slow down the spread of the virus. Simply put, Texas now wants herd immunity. To reach that goal, however, about 75%-90% of the people in the city need to be vaccinated. From that, about 14.3% of the total population has been vaccinated till March 31st.
Associate state health commissioner assures that about 60% of Texans who are over the age of 65 have received at least the first dose.
Experts say that with the ease of pandemic restrictions, people are becoming more relaxed. This threatens a fourth wave of the virus in Texas which makes mass vaccination even more necessary.