With top US. health and medical experts recommending that Americans get a third COVID-19 vaccine “booster” shot, AARP Texas has asked state officials to help ensure that older persons, especially those who are homebound or living in congregate settings, be among the first to qualify for the booster shots – and that access to third shots be simple and clear.
AARP has urged throughout the pandemic that these groups, which are most vulnerable to the infection, illness and death, as well as health care workers, get priority in being vaccinated.
Under a Biden administration plan, people are being advised to get a booster shot eight months from the date they received the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Officials have said that they expect those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also need boosters.
The plan arises in the face of data that shows the effectiveness of the initial vaccines decreases over time.
“In Texas, we urgently need to increase the initial vaccination rate, which is insufficient to protect Texans from the latest surges in infection rates. At the same time, we need to quickly build a strong system to deliver booster shots to those who have already been vaccinated,” Tina Tran, the AARP Texas director wrote in an Aug. 25 letter to Gov. Greg Abbott.
Tran observes that the initial vaccine rollout was not without challenges and many Texans were left “confused and frustrated” by the inability to access timely, accurate and complete information. As a result, priority populations struggled for weeks to find appointments and some went months without being vaccinated.
“These problems can’t be repeated,” Tran wrote, calling on the governor to “develop a comprehensive state plan for booster shots that builds on identified best practices.”
Click here to read the AARP Texas letter to the governor in full.