DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas expects to finalize a plan for distributing a COVID-19 by next month.
A Department of State Health Services spokesperson said the agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has warned a vaccine could be available soon.
In a letter last week, the CDC wrote it’s preparing for “a large scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall.”
The goal, it expresses, is to be “fully operational” by November 1.
McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical distributor based in Irving, will handle logistics of getting the vaccine to state and local health departments, medical facilities, and doctors’ offices.
Texas DSHS will be involved in setting priorities, such as who can get one.
Doctors are warning it won’t be available to everyone at first.
Similar to the way tests for COVID-19 were rolled out, vaccines for the virus will be given first to those considered most in need.
“We’re likely to see the first populations to receive this vaccine being our high risk individuals, those who are in nursing homes for example and of frail health,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, president of the Dallas County Medical Society.
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine out this week recommends a four-phase approach, giving the highest priority to health care workers and first responders.
They would be followed by older adults living in group settings and people with high risk underlying health conditions.
There is still a lot unknown about the vaccine itself, though, including how effective it will be and how long any immunity it offers would last.
Even established vaccines have limits.
“Our seasonal flu vaccine, which we consider to be a good, strong, solid vaccine, does not guarantee you won’t get the flu,” said Dr. Casanova.
Doctors are strongly recommending patients get a flu vaccine, while awaiting one for COVID-19.
A convergence of COVID-19 and a bad flu season, they warn, could strain medical resources.