US partnering with Texas to build 3 new vaccination sites

Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. government is partnering with the state of Texas to build three new mass vaccination sites, the White House’s COVID-19 response team announced Wednesday.

The three federally supported sites will be located in Dallas, Arlington and Houston.

In Houston, the vaccination site will be at NRG Stadium, where the NFL’s Texans play. In Dallas, it will be set up at Fair Park, home to the Texas State Fair. In Arlington, officials will set up a site at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Last week, the NFL told the federal government it would make all of its stadiums available as COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Similar to last week’s announcement that the U.S. would build such sites in California, federal troops will also assist local health officials to expand COVID-19 vaccinations in Texas.

Collectively, the sites will be able to get 10,000 shots in arms per day, according to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

The three sites, which are being set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with local and state officials, are expected to be open on Feb. 24.

“These mass community sites will allow us to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities and help us mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Thank you to our partners at FEMA for working with the State of Texas to establish these vaccination sites and help us protect our most vulnerable.”

Last week, the state of California said it was partnering with FEMA to open mass vaccination sites in Los Angeles and Oakland as a part of a pilot program started by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Both states said the program’s goal was to make sure people in underserved communities have access to vaccines. 

Zients added that the Biden administration has plans to open similar sites in more states in the coming weeks.

Also during briefing Wednesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed new findings about mask-wearing.

The CDC on Wednesday reported the results of a lab experiment, in which researchers found that particles were blocked twice as much when two masks were worn.

The CDC is updating its guidance to address wearing two masks. It says that a cloth mask worn over a surgical mask can tighten the gaps around the mask’s edges that can let virus particles in.

The researchers found that wearing one mask — surgical or cloth — blocked around 40% of the particles coming in during an experiment. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% were blocked.

Some Americans have already started doubling up. Experts believe that’s at least partly out of concern about new strains of coronavirus that possibly spread more easily. The U.S. has registered 2.7 million confirmed cases and more than 468,000 confirmed deaths, the highest numbers in the world.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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