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Texas to prioritize large providers in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, creating ‘vaccination hubs’

State officials will start distributing most of Texas’ vaccine doses next week to a handful of large pharmacies and hospitals, creating “vaccination hubs” where more people can get a shot quickly, the Department of State Health Services announced Thursday.

“As the vaccination effort continues to expand to people who are at a greater risk of hospitalization and death, in addition to frontline health care workers, these vaccination hubs will provide people in those priority populations with identifiable sites where vaccination is occurring and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment with each provider,” the department said.

Those hubs could vaccinate more than 100,000 people next week, officials said.

DSHS issued a survey earlier this month to vaccine providers gauging their ability to operate community vaccination sites. The state will release the final list of large-scale providers later this week, after the federal government decides how many doses Texas will receive next week.

Providers participating in the program will post registration phone numbers and websites where vulnerable people can sign up for a dose. Currently, the state is vaccinating all Texans included in groups 1A or 1B — health care workers, first responders, nursing home residents, those ages 65 and older, pregnant women and anyone 16 and older who has a pre-existing condition, such as cancer, obesity or sickle cell disease.

In total, both large and small sites statewide will receive about 200,000 doses next week, according to the release.

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