As more vaccines and treatment options make their way to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is optimistic about the state’s business and economic outlook. In a special address and conversation hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber, Gov. Abbott provided an update on vaccine distribution efforts and shared keys to sustaining the economic development successes Texas and the Dallas Region have experienced in recent years.
Throughout the pandemic, the state’s priority has remained the same: control and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities, while also keeping the economy running—a task that seemed elusive without a treatment for the coronavirus. Now, Gov. Abbott is confident that recovery is on the horizon as medical solutions such as vaccines and antibody therapies become more available.
The state receives daily supplies of the Pfizer vaccine, which was recently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use. The doses are then allocated on a weekly basis by the Texas Department of State Health Services based on recommendations by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). Texas has received 224,250 vaccine doses thus far, with more than 90,000 distributed doses prioritized for frontline health care workers. Allocation for a second vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, is anticipated by next week.
“By the end of this month, we are expecting to vaccinate more Texans than the total number of Texans who have tested positive for COVID-19 from the very beginning of this pandemic,” he said. “The amount of vaccines that will be distributed in January and February should equal about 10% of the Texas population each and every month.”
Increased vaccinations combined with monoclonal antibody therapies developed by companies such as Regeneron and Eli Lilly should result in daily declines in the number positive cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities.
“Our goal is to keep people out of hospitals and put them on the pathway to recovery,” Abbott said. “One way to do that is through these vaccines. Another way to do that is through these antibody therapeutics, and so we really need encourage the greater adoption and usage of these antibody therapeutic drugs.”
Public education is an important part of accomplishing these goals. The state plans to send notification cards, emails, and text messages, as well as generate calls and public service announcements to share the necessity of getting the vaccine and remind those who have received the vaccine to get their second dose.
The governor expects to see economic recovery and growth accelerate as a result of these medical advancements. Citing recent corporate announcements throughout Texas and the Dallas Region, including Charles Schwab and CBRE, Gov. Abbott believes that there has never been a more exciting time for economic development.
“We have more than 200 projects in our [state] pipeline,” he said. “The best is yet to come, and it’s going to be as a result of the State of Texas working in collaboration with the DRC and your leadership to make sure that we continue to attract the very best to our region, as well as to assist the businesses that are already there grow and expand and get people back to work.”
Availability of skilled talent is perhaps the most important factor in corporate location decisions. The governor expects workforce development to be a top issue in the upcoming 87th Texas Legislative Session. Another legislative priority for Gov. Abbott that impacts economic development is maintaining safe communities. He intends to introduce measures in the legislature that support the police and curb homelessness.
Gov. Abbott foresees an increase in business activity by the early part of next year. His advice to the business community is to prepare to act very quickly.
“You need a play card ready and prepared when 2021 begins about what you want to do to execute on your game plan for economic development in the Dallas Region,” he said.
Vaccine Distribution Information and Progress
- Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- COVID-19 Vaccination in Texas Dashboard
Toyota Motor North America was the presenting sponsor of Governor Abbott’s address.
A version of this story first appeared on the Dallas Regional Chamber site. Dallas Innovates is a collaboration of D Magazine Partners and the Dallas Regional Chamber.
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