Texas veers away from national vaccination guidelines, will prioritize over 65 age group before essential workers

Tim O'Donnell

Texas does not plan on following a federal advisory panel's recommendation that essential workers and people over age 75 should be next in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines after health care workers and long-term care facility residents, the state's health and human services department announced Monday.

Instead, people in Texas who are over 65, as well as adults of any age with certain medical conditions considered coronavirus co-morbidities will receive priority. The department's announcement says the decision was reached after a state-level expert panel decided the "most vulnerable populations" should be protected as soon as possible, though it will likely be a few weeks before the state is done with the initial phase of vaccinations.

There has been debate about who should receive shots next, with some arguing data clearly identifies age as one of the most significant factors in disease severity. But others believe the federal recommendation is the right call, since essential workers are at greater risk of coming into contact with the virus and don't have the luxury of working from home.

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