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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference in Austin on Dec. 17, 2020, regarding COVID-19 and the Pfizer vaccines that have been sent to hospitals across Texas. Gov. Abbott was adamant that despite rising cases and deaths, he will not be ordering any shutdowns. Gov. Abbott also said he has not received the vaccine, but he will take it when the time comes. Credit: Sergio Flores for The Texas Tribune

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Gov. Greg Abbott is set to receive the coronavirus vaccine Tuesday in Austin.

Abbott will get vaccinated at 1:30 p.m. at Ascension Seton Medical Center, according to his office. The event will be televised.

Abbott said Thursday he planned to take vaccine "at the appropriate time."

"I wanted to make sure that the health care workers ... will be the first to receive it, but yes, I will be receiving the vaccine at the appropriate time," Abbott said during a news conference.

Abbott will be the latest elected official to receive the vaccination amid concerns about balancing model behavior with the perception that the powerful are cutting the line. President-elect Joe Biden got the vaccine live on television Monday afternoon, telling the public "there's nothing to worry about."

The Texas Department of State Health Services said in a tweet that Abbott getting vaccinated is "an important step in encouraging Texans that the vaccine is safe and effective."

Texas health groups also applauded Abbott for demonstrating confidence in the vaccine.

“TMA thanks Governor Abbott for rolling up his sleeve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. People need to see we can make Texas strong against the coronavirus if we all take these preventive measures to protect ourselves and others. The governor is leading by example by getting the shot," the Texas Medical Association said in a statement.

Vaccines began arriving in Texas last week, and Abbott's office has said state providers should be getting over a million vaccines by the end of the month. While the first doses are being prioritized for health care workers, Abbott has suggested there could be "widespread distribution" before March.

Abbott has stressed that the vaccine will not be required for Texans, and on Monday, he specifically said it will not be mandatory for the state's school children.

The state previously outlined that “first tier” recipients of the vaccine include hospital-based workers who have direct contact with patients, staff of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities who work directly with residents, home health aides who manage “vulnerable and high-risk” patients and emergency medical service providers such as paramedics and ambulance drivers.

The “second tier” of health care workers who were also prioritized by the state to for vaccinations include those who interact with patients in outpatient settings such as doctors’ offices, workers in freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care clinics, community pharmacy workers, public health workers who administer COVID-19 tests, school nurses and mortuary workers such as medical examiners and embalmers.

Disclosure: Texas Medical Association has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/12/21/texas-greg-abbott-coronavirus-vaccine/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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