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Who will be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine first, and when?

Critical infrastructure and essential workers will be offered the shot before anyone else.

SAN ANTONIO — Two companies are showing promising results in their coronavirus vaccine trials as Pfizer and Moderna report their potential treatments are about 95% effective. 

Governor Greg Abbott touted a new antibody treatment coming to Texas, but that is for people who already have the illness. The vaccine is needed to prevent infection altogether. 

"While speed is crucial, (we) just wanted to emphasize the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines are (of) paramount importance to everybody," said Dr. Anita Kurian, the assistant director at Metro Health.

Even though the vaccines were pushed through the trials quickly, Kurian says they are safe. 

"Based on the safety data that we have seen, it seems to be pretty safe," she said. "All safety and efficacy data decisions continue to be made on good science."

Limited doses will be in supply sometime in December or early January, but the supply will increase substantially in 2021. Cold-air storage requirements will range from refrigerated to ultra cold frozen. Two doses separated by three to four weeks will be required for immunity for most vaccines. 

The initial supply will be approved as a licensed vaccine by the FDA with an emergency-use authorization. But how long will it take to get to the people who need it? A little over one month. 

"There will be a phased approach to distributing the vaccine," Kurian said. 

Critical infrastructure and essential workers will be first in line to get the injection. Frontline healthcare workers comes next, along with those working in public safety like firefighters, teachers, and food and agriculture. 

Then, people living in group settings such as multigenerational households, prisons, state hospitals, homeless centers and colleges will be eligible to get the shot. After that will be people at high-risk for severe illness or COVID-19 impact like nursing homes residents, the elderly and people affected disproportionally by race or ethnicity. 

And then, finally, the vaccine will be available to people with limited access to vaccination services like those with disabilities or those without insurance.

"The the last stages, where vaccination becomes routine, you have more supply than demand itself and now it's open to the general public," Kurian said. 

That widespread supply is likely to be available during the first half of next year. 

To take a look at the vaccine plan for San Antonio and Bexar County, click here.