AUSTIN, TX — Governor Greg Abbott says the State of Texas has allocation plans in place to "swiftly distribute medicines and vaccines that are now becoming available to treat COVID-19."
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the immediate use of bamlanivimab to treat COVID-19 patients.
Eli Lilly & Co. is expected to immediately ship roughly 80,000 doses across the country, including to Texas. Governor Abbott says the company should have up to one million doses by the end of the year.
Bamlanivimab has been authorized for patients at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, including people 65 and older or who have certain pre-existing medical conditions.
Yesterday was the first day of what will be many announcements in the coming weeks about the availability of medicines and vaccines to combat COVID-19.
Gov. Abbott says Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has also requested FDA emergency use authorization for its own antibody treatment. The governor says this is the same antibody drug that was given to President Donald Trump after he contracted COVID-19.
These announcements come after Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstrated over 90% efficacy in preventing COVID-19. Gov. Abbott says the vaccine is expected to become available as soon as late November.
The governor says the State of Texas is already prepared to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and medical treatment.
The Department of State Health Services has developed a Vaccine Distribution Plan and is working with health care providers to enroll in their Immunization Program to be eligible to administer the vaccines once available.
An Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel has been formed by DSHS to develop vaccine allocation strategies.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management is prepared to help distribute vaccines and treatments. A virtual tabletop exercise was held in late October to "test the state's vaccine support plan, understand its operational procedures, and examine their [participant's] roles and responsibilities."
"Swift distribution of vaccines and medical treatments will begin to heal those suffering from COVID-19, slow the spread of the virus, and aid in reducing hospitalizations of Texans," said Governor Abbott. "As we anticipate the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, the State of Texas is prepared to quickly distribute those medicines to Texans who voluntarily choose to use them."