DSHS is partnering with vaccine providers across the state to ensure vaccines will be accessible to all Texans at no cost.
The DSHS dashboard is updated around 4:00pm each day.
Who decides how many vaccines Texas gets?
CDC determines how many doses of vaccine Texas will receive each week, based on population. Once the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is notified of the number of doses expected the following week, DSHS staff presents possibilities for vaccine distribution to the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). The panel makes modifications and recommendations to the Commissioner of Health, who makes the final decision on that week’s distribution.
Who decides how to distribute the vaccine in Texas?
In Texas, DSHS distributes the vaccine with the guidance of the EVAP, appointed by the Health Commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt.
How did DSHS decide who to immunize first?
The Commissioner of Health appointed an EVAP to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions. This includes identifying groups that should be vaccinated first. The goal is to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources. EVAP developed Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles (PDF) that provide the foundation for the Texas vaccine allocation process.
Who can get the vaccine now?
Every adult resident of Texas is now eligible for the vaccine.
If I’m eligible for vaccine now, how do I get one?
The week of January 11, Texas will direct most COVID-19 vaccines received to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.
- The goal of this plan is to provide more people the vaccine and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment.
- Providers will focus on vaccinating areas and populations hardest hit by COVID-19.
If you are in Phase 1 and eligible to receive the vaccine, please check the COVID‑19 Vaccination Hub Providers page to find a hub near you and learn how to register.
Alternately, you can also check the websites of vaccine providers listed on the Texas COVID‑19 Vaccine Availability map to see if they have enough vaccine supply at this time.
- Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine.
- Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability.
- Call only if the website doesn’t answer your questions.
Vaccine hubs aim to provide more vaccines quicker and easier. Texas vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all.
Who can provide vaccines, and how does that happen?
Any facility, organization or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. Each facility or location, including those that are part of a hospital system or clinic network, must register at EnrollTexasIZ.dshs.texas.gov/emrlogin.asp and complete the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement.
Timing will depend on the amount of vaccine provided to Texas and the uptake of vaccine among the priority populations in Phase 1A and 1B.
What should I do to protect myself and others before a vaccine is available?
Practice the same safety habits you’ve been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take the following precautions to limit exposure for yourself and others:
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering in public and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing is not possible.
- Practice social distancing and avoid close contact with others:
- Outside your home: Stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid crowded places.
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with household members who are sick. Avoid sharing personal items and use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members, if possible.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a household disinfectant on List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
For more information please visit www.dshs.state.tx.us
When will I be able to be vaccinated for COVID-19?
If you would like to join the Montgomery County wait list, click here: https://coronavirus-response-moco.hub.arcgis.com/pages/vaccinations.
When vaccines are available, MCPHD will post a link on the homepage to make an appointment. Feel free to check the homepage daily.
Individual hospitals, physicians’ offices and pharmacies also have vaccines available to eligible populations. Please check their websites for additional information. You can find a list of providers and additional information on the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website here: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine-hubs.aspx.
The COVID-19 Call Center is available to take questions regarding COVID-19 general questions, testing and vaccines at 936-523-3916. It is open Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 4:00pm.
What is the difference between PCR, Antigen and Antibody testing?
PCR testing is used to detect a virus itself in the nose, throat or other areas of the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection. Antigen testing also looks for an active infection, but there is a higher probability for false negatives when compared to PCR testing. Antibody testing looks for antibodies to determine if there has been an infection in the past. Antibody testing is not recognized in county or state positive numbers.
As of 9/18/2020, antigen testing (rapid testing) is included in total and active county numbers. Please see the updated press release here: https://mcphd-tx.org/wp-content/uploads/antigen-press-release-9.18.2020.pdf.
For a full explanation, download the PDF available at this link: PCR vs Antigen vs Antibody Testing
In your online reporting, the graph doesn’t reflect the same numbers as the blue graphic. Why?
The graph reflects the date a case was reported to MCPHD. This allows us to show an accurate curve of COVID-19 – based on when positive cases were reported to us. So, for example, a case received on 10/23/2020 at 3:30 p.m. would be added to the graph on 10/23/2020, even though it would be reported as a new case on 10/24/2020 in the 3:00 p.m. update and the blue graphic. Because of this, the graph does not show the same information as the blue graphic in the 3:00 p.m. update since that is reflective of daily changes.
Also, please note as of 7/16/2020, positive cases that have been “unable to contact” for more than 30 days will be considered “inactive.” This also allows for a more accurate reflection of active cases in our community.
In your online reporting, there is a blue graphic that shows a lot of numbers regarding COVID-19. How are these numbers calculated?
Active Cases – the total number of positive tests minus those who have recovered, those who have died, and those we have been unable to contact for more than 30 days.
(Active Cases = Total Cases – Recovered – Deceased – Unable to Contact)
Hospitalized – the number of Montgomery County residents who are in a hospital, regardless of where that hospital is located. These numbers are dependent on hospitals reporting the data accurately to MCPHD and if we have been able to contact the patient or an emergency contact for the patient.
Recovered – the number of Montgomery County residents whose symptoms have been assessed over the phone by an employee of MCPHD and determined to be recovered based on clinical guidelines from the CDC. You can find those guidelines in the answer of a question below or at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html.
Deaths – the number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Montgomery County. These deaths are reviewed by MCPHD prior to release to ensure they are related to COVID-19.
Total Cases – this number is the total number of positive COVID-19 tests reported to MCPHD by healthcare providers. Regardless of whether a person has already recovered or has died by the time it is reported, it is still counted in the total of positive cases, although it is counted as “inactive.” A positive result is a positive result, regardless of the person’s current status.
Key Changes – this is a section meant to show the increase or decrease in the numbers from day to day. The change indicated is over 24 hours unless it is a Monday, then the change is indicated from the previous Friday.
(For example, on 10/22/2020, there were 8,609 recoveries. On 10/23/2020, there were 8,682 recoveries. On “Key Changes,” it notes an increase (+) of 73 recoveries from the previous day’s report.)
In your online reporting, there is a red graphic that has different hospitalization numbers – what does that mean?
This graphic shows the number of patients hospitalized in Montgomery County, regardless of their county of residence. It includes both county and non-county residents. The hospitals in our region report this information to SETRAC (Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council).
When can someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 return to work?
(revised with new CDC guidelines released 7/17/2020)
According to the CDC, employers should not require an employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work after testing positive for COVID-19. Employees with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation and return to work after a clinical recovery – 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medications) AND 10 days past symptom onset. Find all the details here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html.
When is someone considered “recovered” from COVID-19?
(revised with new CDC guidelines released 7/17/2020)
Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
- At least 24 hours have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Improvement in symptoms; and,
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue isolation when at least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness provided they remain asymptomatic. For 3 days following discontinuation of isolation, these persons should continue to limit contact (stay 6 feet away from others) and limit potential of dispersal of respiratory secretions by wearing a covering for their nose and mouth whenever they are in settings where other persons are present. In community settings, this covering may be a barrier mask, such as a bandana, scarf, or cloth mask. The covering does not refer to a medical mask or respirator.
For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html.
I was tested last week. Why haven’t I received my results?
By law, providers (hospitals, physicians, etc.) are only required to notify Public Health of POSITIVE results. As with any other medical test, you should receive your results (positive or negative) via your healthcare provider where the test was performed. MCPHD will only contact patients upon receiving POSITIVE results. Hospitals in Montgomery County all have patient portals where results are uploaded when they receive them. As a courtesy to the public, here is a list of the patient portals for the four largest hospital systems in Montgomery County where results can be obtained when they are available.
Memorial Hermann Hospital – The Woodlands
EverydayWell – http://www.memorialhermann.org/everydaywell/
HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe (formerly Conroe Regional Hospital)
MyHealthONE – https://hcahoustonhealthcare.com/myhealthone/
CHI St. Luke’s The Woodlands
MyChart – https://mychart.sleh.com/prd/
This site is for access if seen at the following facilities:
- Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
- Lakeside Hospital
- Springwoods Village Hospital
- Sugar Land Hospital
- The Vintage Hospital
- The Woodlands Hospital
Other regional CHI St. Luke’s facilities – https://www.chistlukeshealth.org/patient-portal-login
Houston Methodist – The Woodlands