Early doses of COVID-19 vaccines, regeneron treatments and remdesivir could be available to Texas patients as early as November, Governor Greg Abbott said during a campaign stop in Benbrook Wednesday.
“There are strategies in place to make sure that Tarrant County is going to be able to contain COVID,” Abbott told reporters.
The news comes as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Tarrant County. Health department Director Vinny Taneja worries numbers could soon be as bad as they were at the peak of the pandemic.
“Signs are pointing to a big surge coming,” Taneja said Tuesday. “Fall is going to be rough.”
The state has strategies in place to ensure vaccine doses would be distributed when they arrive, as early as late November, Abbott said.
However, the state health department’s own distribution plan says doses won’t be available to everyone until July. The earliest doses would be reserved for the most vulnerable populations and frontline workers.
The regeneron and remdesivir treatments, with which doctors treated President Donald Trump, are or could be available to Texas patients in the next few weeks, Abbott said. Though, health experts are still debating their effectiveness and it’s unclear how widely available they will be.
In the meantime, Abbott urged residents to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing.
“Everybody has within their own ability the ability to make sure that they prevent getting COVID and they prevent giving it to somebody else,” Abbott said.
Another strategy is cracking down on businesses that are ignoring safety protocols. Just one week after Texas bars got the greenlight to reopen at 50% capacity, at least six have been shut down for 30 days.