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'No more shutdowns,' Gov. Abbott said during vaccine distribution announcement

More than 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered across Texas by the end of the week.

Updated at 9:29 a.m. with Abbott's statements.

Gov. Greg Abbott said with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, "it is time to put shutdowns behind us." 

Abbott said on Thursday that more than 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed across Texas by the end of the week. 

The vaccine comes as the state continues grappling with high numbers of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

On Wednesday, the state reported 14,805 new confirmed cases, 252 additional deaths, and more than 9,400 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

But despite those cases and hospitalizations, Abbott was firm that no businesses will be forced to close. 

"No more shutdowns," the governor said. "We will not have any more shutdowns in Texas." 

In a fiery delivery, Abbott said "people's lives have been crushed" and are financially struggling due to coronavirus closures. 

Vaccines will first be distributed to health care workers and seniors living in long-term care facilities. Abbott said doctors and nurses are receiving the shots first "so they will be able to continue to serve on the front line." 

The governor said he plans to receive the vaccine but wants to wait until those at the most risk receive it first. 

"So, yes, I will be receiving the vaccine at the appropriate time," he said. 

By Thursday, 95,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had already been delivered to 110 hospitals across Texas. 

Abbott said another 129,000 doses will be delivered beginning Thursday. 

An FDA expert panel is meeting Thursday to decide whether to recommend the Moderna vaccine for emergency use authorization. 

It could be approved as soon as the end of the week, which would increase the number of vaccine doses distributed across the country.

"This is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, but we're not done yet," said Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt. 

Hellerstedt and Abbott said people must remain patient while the vaccines are distributed. 

"Every adult in Texas has the responsibility to follow the safe practices," Abbott said. "If they do that, we can contain COVID-19." 

With a second vaccine, the governor said as many as one million Texans could be vaccinated by the end of the month. 

To see the number of vaccine doses distributed and administered in Texas, visit the state dashboard here.

For more vaccine coverage, visit wfaa.com/vaccine

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