There have been lots of reports in the news lately about a COVID-19 vaccine that could be available before too long. So, what does that mean for us in Texas?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services will soon begin distributing two new antibody drugs to Texas hospitals that have been shown to help some patients avoid needing to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19.

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Bamlanivimab is a drug from Eli Lilly & Co. and is said to help with symptoms of those with COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization. The FDA has authorized the drug for patients that have pre-existing medical conditions, are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, and those 65 and older.

Lilly will ship approximately 80,000 doses across the country, including Texas, and should have up to one million doses by the end of the year.

The second drug is from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and is one of the drugs that was used on President Donald Trump to treat COVID-19 when the president was hospitalized in October at Walter Reed military hospital.

According to Abbott, a vaccine developed by Pfizer that has demonstrated over 90% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 is expected to be available for distribution in late November.

The Department of State Health Services already has a Vaccine Distribution Plan, with over 2,500 health care providers already enrolled in the program.

Gov. Abbott says, "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. 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."

So there is a plan, and until we get the therapy drugs and vaccine (and until the number of cases sees a significant drop), we must do our part to keep ourselves and others safe. Practice your social distancing, wash your hands, and always wear a mask at work, while shopping, or when physical distancing isn't possible.

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