HOUSTON - As early as the week of December 14, Texas could distribute more than 224,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
The Department of State Health Services reports the vaccines will go to 109 hospitals in 34 counties. Galveston, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Harris counties are on the list.
Mayor Sylvester Turner says he expects the FDA to approve the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. The news is encouraging but Turner is urging people to remain vigilant.
"There are more people dying from this virus than dying from cancer or heart disease. It's the number one killer right now," Turner said referring to a report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Turner says the best protection against the virus right now is wearing masks and practicing social distancing. To slow the spread, it is testing and contact tracing.
"Our contact tracing program is more effective now than it has ever been," Turner added.
Houston now has about 400 contact tracers. Turner is urging people to cooperate with the them.
He adds they will call and will not ask for personal information that could compromise someone's identity, like social security or credit card numbers.
"They're not even going to give you the name of the person that was impacted. They simply will be asking you for general information so that they can advise people who have been in close contact with you that you may have possibly been exposed," he explained. "And, then, they will encourage you to get tested."
Mayor Turner says once he has the opportunity to get the vaccine, he'll do it in publicly to vouch for its safety.