HOUSTON - The rush to get people vaccinated for COVID-19 continues across the United States.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that roughly 1% of the United States has been officially vaccinated for the Coronavirus.
‘We just need more," said Dr. Peter Hotez, the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "It will happen. We just need it now. We don’t have a lot of time to wait."
According to Texas Department of State Health Services, almost 1.4 million Texans have received a COVID-19 shot. In order to reach herd immunity, experts believe about 75 percent of the state’s roughly 30 million people must get the vaccine.
"No one at this point wants to hear, be patient," said Roberta Schwartz, Executive VP for Houston Methodist Hospital. "It’s a very hard message. [Fortunately], we continue to see each week, more and more vaccines come into the region."
President Joe Biden announced a new push this week, to get 100 million people vaccinated for COVID-19 in 100 days across the United States. The population of the United States is estimated at around 330 million.
"The problem is 100 million in 100 days isn’t enough," said Dr. Hotez. "It’s not going to get us where we have to go. Especially, if we have new variants arising. We’re going to have to double or triple that."
Experts say the main issue with Coronavirus vaccine distribution right now is supply. Most vaccine locations across Texas fill-up their available appointments within minutes of taking reservations. Providers say they don’t have enough vaccines to match demand.
"It’s frustrating," said Porfirio Villarreal, a spokesperson from Houston’s Health Department. "We’ve known the start was going to be slow. As production ramps up, that’ll make it easier."
Johnson & Johnson is expected to receive FDA approval for their new COVID-19 vaccine within the next few weeks. If approved, their vaccine requires just one dose per person and doesn’t need to be stored in freezers.
"You’ll be able to put it on vans and go into mobile clinics in various communities," said Schwartz.
According to Schwartz, Harris County is expected to have 12 COVID vaccines hubs next week. This amount, would quadruple the number of vaccine hubs in Harris County just two weeks ago.
Right now, experts are optimistic most people will have access to COVID-19 vaccines by the summer.
"I’m hoping later in the spring everyone will get vaccinated," said Dr. Hotez.
"Sometime in the late spring, right before summer," said Schwartz. "We’ll be searching for arms, rather than trying to slow down the amount of arms trying to come through the door.’
"Texas providers are getting 332,850 doses next week," said a spokesperson from DSHS. "The biggest issue continues to be the supply. We’ve been told by Operation Warp Speed that allocations should be approximately steady for the next few weeks, but we definitely want that to increase as soon as possible. We understand Johnson & Johnson plans to present the data from its vaccine to the FDA in February. If it’s authorized, that would be a big boost in making more vaccine available."