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Biden administration partners with Texas to build three new mass Covid vaccine centers in the state

Public service workers help people to check in at a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site in Robstown, Texas, February 9, 2021.

Go Nakamura | Reuters

The Biden administration will partner with Texas officials to build three new community vaccination centers in Dallas, Arlington and Houston, a member of President Joe Biden‘s Covid-19 response team announced Wednesday.

The centers, which will be operational the week of Feb. 22, will allow health-care providers to administer more than 10,000 shots per day, Jeff Zients, Biden’s Covid czar, said told reporters during a White House news briefing on the pandemic. “We are deploying teams immediately to work hand in hand with the state and local jurisdiction,” he said.

Zients also said later Wednesday that he will join New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press briefing to formally announce the development of two new Covid vaccine centers in the state to help distribute shots to “underserved communities.”

The announcements come days after the administration said it was sending active-duty troops to California to help staff Covid-19 vaccine sites there. Biden is trying to pick up the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. after a slower-than-expected rollout under former President Donald Trump’s administration, and federal officials are also pushing states to administer shots more quickly.

Last week, Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to Biden’s Covid-19 response team, said some health-care providers were regularly holding back vaccines for second shots, causing vaccine appointments to be canceled and preventing some Americans from receiving their first doses. Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines require two doses given three to four weeks apart.

“We want to be clear that we understand why health-care providers have done that, but that it does not need to happen and should not happen,” he told reporters on Feb. 1, adding that U.S. officials know Covid vaccine shipments to states were often unpredictable during the early rollout in late December.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

CNBC.com