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Health officials predict when vaccines will be available for general public

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Across the country, it’s been a slow rollout of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Right now, you’re seeing 100 million doses. That’s good for 50 million people,” Said Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority.

Across the RGV we’ve seen lines at majority vaccination sites and we’re just in the second phase.

“Probably be in this phase until mid to late April as long as early May,” said UTRGV’s Dr. John Krouse.

Vaccination rollout is broken down into those who need it the most.

Graphic from Texas Department of State Health Services

Tier 1A is for frontline workers like doctors and nurses and 1B is for seniors and people 16 and older with a higher chance of dying from COVID-19.  Dr. Krouse is UTRGV’s Dean of Medicine and Executive VP of Health Affairs. He said they’ve vaccinated 10,000 residents.

“We’re at the phase right now where we simply don’t have the doses available for all the people who want them,” he said.

So far across the state, 2,214,644 have been vaccinated with at least the first dose. 668,743 are fully protected against the virus, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Cameron County, Dr. James Castillo said over 20,000 people have been vaccinated for the first dose. 

To grow that number, he said the problem isn’t the man power but the actual vaccine.

“If the vaccine remains at the current rate it might take months to get through everybody in those risk factors,” said Dr. Castillo.

He’s hoping the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be another tool to get more shots into arms.

“Make a big difference how we can get through those people with risk factors and get to the general public,” he said.

“This is a marathon not a sprint. Very important that we’re very patient,” said Dr. Krouse.

Growing confidence that by the summer supply will meet demand.

“I would hope to see that 70-80 percent of the county have received this vaccine the higher we get the closer we get to the true meaning of herd immunity,” said Dr. Castillo.

Both doctors say practicing social distancing and wearing masks are the best ways to stop the spread.


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