Frontline healthcare workers and residents at long term care facilities (called Phase 1A) as well as people 65 years of age or older and people 16 years of age or older with a chronic medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
- People 65 years of age and older
- People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Solid organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
In Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is implementing a statewide vaccine plan with the help of an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). For more information about Texas’s vaccine distribution plan visit the DSHS website (https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx).
The Commissioner of Health appointed an EVAP to make recommendations on vaccine sharing decisions. This includes naming groups that should get the vaccine first. EVAP developed Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles (PDF) that provide the basis for the Texas vaccine allocation process.
Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when the vaccine will be available for the general public who are not part of Phase 1B. No exact job or group is specifically identified in 1B; however, all jobs will have some people who meet the 1B criteria. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.
Additional information for educators and school staff is available in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) K-12 COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ.
Practice the same safety habits you’ve been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take the following safe steps to limit exposure for yourself and others:
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering in public and when around people who don’t live in your house, especially when social distancing is not possible.
- Practice social distancing and avoid close contact with others:
- Outside your home:Stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid crowded places.
- Inside your home:Avoid close contact with others in your house who are sick. Avoid sharing personal items and use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members, if possible.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not on hand, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched often using a household disinfectant on List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands that have not been washed.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
COVID-19 vaccines are new and are still being tested. Some COVID-19 vaccines may stop serious illness, while others may stop people from getting COVID-19 at all. Others may be helpful to stop spreading COVID-19. CDC and DSHS will keep the public informed as they learn more.
Different vaccines are proving to have different usefulness rates. Some manufacturers are reporting 90% to 95% protection at 1–2 weeks after getting the final dose. Experts do not know how long protection will last or whether a booster shot will be needed later, after the first recommended vaccine dose(s). CDC and DSHS will keep the public informed as they learn more.
Yes. Experts are still learning about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions. The vaccine is not expected to be 100% effective. CDC recommends that everyone continue to use all the tools to protect ourselves and others from getting and sharing the virus. Wear a mask or cloth face covering when you are in public or around people who don’t live in your house. These masks or face coverings help when you can’t avoid being in the same space as others.
Wearing a mask or cloth face covering does not mean you don’t need to stay a safe distance from others. Social distancing, or staying at least 6 feet apart from others, is still needed to keep you and others safe.
Experts at CDC are learning about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions. So, once you get vaccinated, keep wearing your mask, washing your hands and staying 6 feet from others until you hear differently from CDC and DSHS.
We are still learning about how long a person that has had COVID-19 is protected by “natural immunity.” Early data suggests that immunity after having COVID-19 may not last very long. We also don’t know yet how long the vaccines’ protection lasts, called “vaccine-induced immunity.” CDC and DSHS will keep the public informed as more information becomes available.
Yes. Immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine may last longer than the natural immunity you get if you’ve already had COVID-19. People who currently have COVID-19 should not get the vaccine while they are sick.
For all but one of the COVID-19 vaccines offered right now, you will need two shots for full protection. You will need two doses from the same manufacturer, spaced 21 or 28 days apart, depending on which company made the vaccine. You will get full protection from the vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose. Get the second shot even if you have side effects from the first shot, unless the vaccination provider or your healthcare provider tells you not to get the second shot.
When you get the vaccine, you will get information about what kind of vaccine you got and when you need to come back for your second dose. You can register and use the new V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker to get health check-ins after you have the COVID-19 vaccination, and reminders to get your second dose if you need one. If you choose to get only one dose, the amount of protection you may have is not known.
For the vaccines the need two doses, getting fully vaccinated takes over a month in total. You will get full protection from the vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose. Talk to a healthcare provider to get information about your COVID-19 vaccine.
You will need to check with your healthcare provider about whether your medicines cause a problem with being vaccinated.
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not change your DNA. The COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you by making an immune response without you having to feel sickness.
Experts do not know how safe the COVID-19 vaccine is for children. People 16 years old and older are currently eligible to get the vaccine if they are in a priority group.
Experts do not know how safe the COVID-19 vaccine is for people who are pregnant. But experts believe COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be a risk to people who are pregnant. If you are pregnant and are eligible to get the vaccine, you may choose to get vaccinated. Discuss your options and any concerns with your healthcare provider.
Three excellent places to find reliable information are the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).