DALLAS — Updated March 11 with information from the state.
Phase 1C will expand vaccine eligibility to Texans who are 50 and above beginning on March 15, the state health department said Wednesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services cited that 93% of deaths in the state are in people ages 50 and above.
Phase 1A and 1B are currently underway. Last week, President Joe Biden and the federal government expanded eligibility to educators and workers at schools and child care facilities.
The expanded eligibility will "protect the next most vulnerable group" and help in "reducing the burden of disease on people at the greatest risk of hospitalization and death," the department said. It will also protect the health care system.
There is strong evidence that there are life-threatening effects for COVID-19 in people 50 and above, the department said.
"Preventing the disease among people in this age group will dramatically reduce the number of Texans who die from the disease across all races, ethnicities and occupations," the department said.
“What we estimated is there are about 5 million people in this 1C priority group and more than 1 million have already been vaccinated,” said Chair Imelda Garcia with DSHS, Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel.
There are 800,000 doses coming to Texas this week, and even more expected by the end of March, Garcia said.
Overall, more than 7 million doses have been administered in Texas. About 4.7 million people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 2.5 million are fully vaccinated.
The 1A and 1B groups include frontline healthcare workers, long term care staff and residents, people over the age of 65, or anyone older than 16 with an underlying condition that could contribute to severe illness from a COVID-19 illness.
Texas has appointed a team of health leaders to form a COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Panel to figure out distribution details for our state, specifically.