Please note: Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 vaccine situation, information may change frequently — please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas Department of State Health Services (or your local state authorities) for the most up-to-date information.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community. If you are protected from getting COVID-19, you cannot pass the disease to others — and vice versa. We need at least 70 percent of the population to get vaccinated in order to rid ourselves of the COVID-19 virus.
But we know you have questions. When will you get the vaccine? Where? How does it work? While we may not have all the answers today, we’re committed to keep you safe, informed and up to date as we navigate this process together.
Baylor Scott & White Health will be providing the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients and communities in phases as determined by the Texas Department of State Health Services, based on guidance from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). At this time, all Texas healthcare organizations that receive an allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine must distribute it based on this guidance.
COVID-19 vaccination schedule
Although timing of the different phases is unclear at this point, here’s what you can expect to see over the next several months. Keep in mind that these guidelines are subject to change by the FDA, CDC or Texas Department of State Health Services. If you live outside the state of Texas, be sure and refer to your local authorities for guidance specific to your area.
The first phase of distribution, which began in mid-December, includes healthcare workers who interface with potential COVID-19 patients, as well as patients and employees of long-term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes). For the CDC’s full recommendations for distribution, visit here.
In Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, this will be followed by vaccination of other vulnerable frontline workers, as well as the below high-risk groups:
- 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 increased 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
Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, we cannot speak to the timing of when COVID-19 vaccines may be available to other populations. Once we receive additional supply and are allowed by the state to begin distributing to the rest of the community, we will work to make the vaccine available as quickly and conveniently as possible.
What you can do while you wait
Due to rigid measures for storage and administration of the current vaccines, central administration sites will be designated. Communications channels are being developed so that everyone will know when they can receive the vaccine.
As the CDC designates which populations are authorized to get vaccinated, a process for notifying and vaccinating patients will be published. Baylor Scott & White Health will not maintain a waiting list for the COVID-19 vaccine — we will vaccinate eligible patients in accordance with state and CDC guidelines.
When the time comes for you to get the vaccine, it will be important to have the MyBSWHealth app downloaded and up to date with your information and medical history. Download the app or update your information today.
While you wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to follow all safety measures to help slow the spread in your community. Use common sense and follow the three W’s: Wear a mask when outside of your home, Watch your distance and try to stay at least 6 feet away from others, and Wash or disinfect your hands whenever you touch something that someone else has touched.
As your trusted health and wellness partner, we’re committed to keeping you safe and informed. For answers to more frequently asked vaccine questions, visit BSWHealth.com/COVIDvaccine.