Arlington, Texas— Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state will rapidly increase the rate of vaccination against COVID-19 by creating more mass centers to receive more people, although the number is limited even according to the supply of immunizations from the federal government.
In response to the frustration of many over a campaign that has been slow and often confusing since last month, Texas changed its original plan of using thousands of vaccine providers to focus on large-scale sites that can process thousands of injections per day.
Texas is one of several states that will have stadiums, auditoriums, fairgrounds, and convention centers to vaccinate more people than if it were through smaller private providers.
“We have the structure to vaccinate Texans faster,” Abbott said after touring the new vaccine center at Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center. Other sites among the 28 major vaccine centers include the Alamodome stadiums in San Antonio and the Minute Maid Park in Houston, plus the FairPark in Dallas.
“The only limitation that we now face is the limited availability (of vaccines). Vaccination is not something the state of Texas controls. The vaccine supply comes solely from the federal government, ”Abbott said.
Texas will soon receive more than 300,000 “first shot” doses in a process that will consist of two rounds each week, Abbott said. As of noon Monday, Texas had received about 2 million doses, which have been administered to nearly 880,000 people.
Texas has recently seen an increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. State health officials report that there are more than 13,000 COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals across the state and nearly 30,000 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began.
Texas is currently vaccinating healthcare workers, first responders, nursing home residents, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and anyone 16 and older who has a medical condition that would put them in a greater risk of death or serious illness if infected.