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Texas Urgent Care Centers, Pharmacies, Medical Practices Anxious For Access To Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Next week, Texas will receive nearly triple the number of vaccine doses than it did this week, if the FDA grants emergency use authorization to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine as expected.

That decision could come as soon as Friday, following a vote Thursday by a key FDA panel to endorse the vaccine.

So far, only a limited number of large hospitals in Texas have received the Pfizer vaccine.

The arrival of Moderna would change that, allowing more healthcare providers – and a wider range of healthcare providers – access.

"This is a really exciting time cause we're really going to see more widespread administration of the vaccine," said Rannon Ching, an Austin pharmacist who learned Thursday he's set to receive 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says it expects the state to receive 619,000 doses in the second week of vaccine allocation, compared to 224,000 doses this week.

Moderna vaccine
(credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The majority – 460,000 – would come from Moderna, which offers added flexibility.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna's does not need to be stored in extreme cold temperatures or shipped in massive quantities.

"We can ship it out in batches as small as 100 doses, so we'll be able to get it out to a lot more providers across the state," said DSHS spokesperson, Chris Van Deusen.

Just over 100 hospitals have received Pfizer's vaccine so far.

Next week, Van Deusen said, with the introduction of Moderna's vaccine, the list of facilities receiving a vaccine would grow to more than 1,000 and include free standing emergency rooms, urgent care centers, small rural hospitals, medical practices, and pharmacies.

"If a particular doctor's office or a smaller setting doesn't get vaccine this week, the goal would be that they can… that there will be vaccine available in the pharmacy in their community," said Van Deusen.

Ching, the chief pharmacist at Tarrytown Pharmacy said he's already preparing to reach out to customer he knows are eligible.

"You're going to see a lot more widespread immunization of just healthcare professionals that come into contact with a lot of patients every day," he said.

The state is still reserving all doses of the vaccine for healthcare workers and residents of long term care facilities, so patients should be prepared to show they fall into either category to be immunized.


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