During the COVID-19 pandemic health officials cannot stress enough the importance of getting a flu shot. Governor Abbott is also stressing the importance by authorizing the Department of State Health Services to offer qualifying Texans with free vaccines.

DSHS has secured 2.8 million doses of flu vaccine for the Texas Vaccines for Children Program and the new Adult Influenza Vaccine Initiative.

U. Baumgarten via Getty Images

Abbott’s office says the program is set out to enhance vaccination availability as a part of the COVID-19 response and to help lower the number of illnesses and fatalities directly from influenza.

The vaccines will be available to the following groups as set by the Governor’s office and health officials:

  • Uninsured and underinsured adults
  • Staff and patients in long-term care facilities
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • Health care employees, first responders, and other critical front-line workers
  • People in racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19

For Texas children who are uninsured, underinsured, or qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program are eligible to get vaccines from more than 3,000 Texas Vaccines for Children providers across the state.

Texas is the tenth state in the country with the lowest vaccination rate. The 2019-2020 rate was of those getting vaccinated was 47.3 percent while the national average was 51.8 percent. Going back to 2017 that rate was at 37.6 percent.

Getty Images

“The flu vaccine is an effective way to prevent the spread of influenza, and expanding access to this vaccine is especially important this year so that our healthcare systems can focus on treating COVID-19 patients,” said Governor Abbott.

To find out more about the vaccine initiative click here.