A Doctor’s Note on How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

On January 8, 2021, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. sent the following information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Dear Friends, Since December 11, it is encouraging to see news stories of health care professionals and those in vulnerable populations across the country receiving one of the two COVID-19 vaccines under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. It is thanks to the unprecedented innovation of our top medical minds and a nimble government that these vaccines were developed and initially distributed on a timeline and scale that our country has never seen before. I do understand that many North Texans have not had the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This week my staff and I worked hard to gather information about the distribution efforts from state officials. How are vaccines being distributed? The Federal Government, as a part of Operation Warp Speed, purchased an initial 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and over 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Federal Government is distributing those vaccines on a weekly basis to the 50 states. Each state government then has the autonomy to distribute to counties in their jurisdiction. There is an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel in Texas that decides how many doses are allocated to different providers across the state each week. Who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine? Texas has initiated Phase 1A and Phase 1B distribution. 1A includes health care workers and those who live and work in long term care facilities. 1B includes those both those who are 65+ and those over 16 years old with a chronic medical condition that increases risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Read more here. How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine? Although the state of Texas has officially initiated Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution plan, each vaccine provider is operating at different stages of the plan depending on the amount of vaccines which they have been allocated. Many of them are also still focused on Phase 1A. If you believe you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, call your primary care doctor to inquire if they are enrolled as a vaccine provider. You can also visit the Texas vaccine provider map to find a vaccine provider near you in order to set up an appointment or register for a waitlist. Please do not show up at these sites without registering first. Information on vaccine registration at county vaccination sites: National Updates: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will purchase an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, with 70 million of those doses to be manufactured and delivered by June 20, 2021. Novavax announced that it will begin enrolling adults volunteers in the Phase 3 trial of its vaccine candidate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $22 billion to support COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts to state and local governments. These funds are a result of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed in December. The Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and HHS issued updated recommended risk mitigation practices for airlines and airports to slow the spread of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health study showed data that pregnant women in the third trimesters are unlikely to transfer COVID-19 to newborns. Until next time, this is your doctor's note. Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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