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Gov. Greg Abbott gets virus vaccine to reassure Texans it’s safe & easy

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott received the Covid-19 vaccine Tuesday, as newly confirmed cases and hospitalizations continue soaring in the state, saying he wanted to show Texans how "safe and easy" it is.

He received the shot on live television at Austin's Ascension Seton Medical Center to help reassure the public that inoculations are safe. It came one day after President-elect Joe Biden took a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his Delaware home, which was also broadcast on live television.

"I will never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself," Abbott said moments before getting vaccinated.

After getting the injection in his left arm — a process that took just over a minute — Abbott said he didn't "feel a thing," thanked his nurse and threw his hands up.

"It's that easy," he told reporters.

Abbott said federal and state health officials had pressed him to take the vaccine, including Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Alex Azar, the U.S. health and human services secretary.

"They said it's important for governors to step up and be examples in their community," Abbott said.

Other governors have said they will wait to get the vaccine, although Abbott was not the first to get it. Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was among the first top elected officials in the nation to receive the vaccine.

Abbott was accompanied by Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, who was also vaccinated.

Health groups lauded Abbott getting publicly vaccinated, saying his leadership is needed to instill confidence in the 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.

Abbott has emphasized that Texas is set to receive 1.4 million total vaccine doses by the end of the month. Vaccines began arriving in Texas last week, and health care workers began receiving injections immediately.

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.

Article Topic Follows: Texas

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