Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the Lone Star State is leading the nation in vaccine administration after it became the first state to vaccinate a million residents against the CCP virus.
Abbott hailed Texas’s efforts to distribute and administer the vaccine amid a nationwide rollout that has been slower than expected.
“Texas is leading the way for our nation once again,” Abbott said in a statement on Jan. 14. “This is the biggest vaccination effort we have ever undertaken, and it would not be possible without the dedication and tireless efforts of our healthcare workers. We still have a long road ahead of us, but Texans continue to prove that we are up to this challenge.”
Health officials said last year they projected 20 million Americans getting vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2020, but that number ended up being under 4 million. Around 31.2 million doses of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines have been distributed in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while just under 12.3 million doses have been administered as of Jan. 18.
Texas, with a population of some 29 million, has distributed just over 2 million doses and administered just under 1.2 million, as of Jan. 18, the CDC stated. California, with 39.5 million people, has distributed more than 3.5 million doses and administered just under 1.1 million.
“We’re showing the country how to get this done,” Abbott told Breitbart News in an interview on Jan. 16, in which he stressed the voluntary nature of inoculations in Texas.
“But the first thing I want to convey to your audience a standard we have in the state of Texas is when it comes to vaccines: they are always voluntary, never forced or required. People have a choice in Texas whether they want to take a vaccine or not,” Abbott told the outlet.
It comes as the slow pace of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration has frustrated many Americans at a time when the pandemic death toll has continued to rise. Nearly 400,000 Americans have reportedly died due to the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.
At the end of December 2020, Texas health authorities expanded eligibility criteria to get more shots in the arms of Texans willing to get inoculated.
“For those who do want to take a vaccine, we have created a very robust system to make sure we are getting this out as quickly as possible,” Abbott told Breitbart News.
“One thing that we did where we led the nation is we were the first to pivot to ensuring that anybody aged 65 and older would be able to get access to the vaccine.”
Scattered shortages of COVID-19 vaccines were noted in some states on Jan. 16 under pressure from growing demand, as previously inoculated Americans returned for their required second shots and millions of newly eligible people scrambled to get their first.
Signs of vaccine supply strains appeared in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont.