DSHS distributes vaccines for tenth week to providers
The Texas Department of State Health Services tasked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship 407,650 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 302 providers during the tenth week of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Aside from large vaccine hubs, additional vaccines are still being distributed to smaller providers in other parts of the state including Stephens County.
DSHS said in their Feb. 12 press release that they are encouraging providers to accommodate those aged 75 and older who remain at the highest risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
“For example, providers could set aside a certain number of doses for older adults, serve them during special hours, help them move through vaccine clinics more quickly, or work with local partners to facilitate in-home vaccination. This does not change the groups eligible for vaccination,” DSHS wrote in the release.
Alongside the first doses being distributed, 333,650 doses intended as the second doses for those vaccinated a few weeks ago are also being ordered by the state. DSHS said in a press release it will be working with providers to make sure they order the number of second doses needed at the appropriate time so people should be able to return to the same provider to receive a second dose.
“People should be able to return to the same provider to receive their second dose within six weeks of getting the first,” DSHS wrote.
During the fifth week vaccine allocation, vaccines began being distributed to 28 vaccine hub providers which focused on large community vaccination efforts for healthcare workers, people 65 and older and those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. These larger providers are able to vaccinate a total of more than 100,000 people and were allocated doses based on the number of people each provider estimated it could serve in a week.
During this week, 85 hub providers which focus on community vaccination efforts and 217 additional providers are set to receive the vaccines. The large hubs that were allocated vaccinations during the fifth week in 18 Texas counties were Bell, Bexar, Brazos, Cameron, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Harris, Hidalgo, Lubbock, Maverick, McLennan, Nueces, Potter, Smith, Tarrant, Travis and Webb. An updated list of all of the providers and a public phone number for contact can be found at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine-hubs.aspx.
DSHS and Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday, Jan. 14, that Texas was the first state to administer 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement came one month to the day after the first doses arrived at providers on Dec. 14, according to a press release from Gov. Abbott.
According to DSHS as of Friday, the state had administered nearly 3.8 million doses of the vaccine, with more than 2.8 million people having received at least one dose and over one misllion being fully vaccinated. DSHS reminds Texas residents that while 72% of those in the state have been vaccinated in their home county, they are not required to be vaccinated in their county of residence.
Area providers which will be receiving the vaccine doses this week are Graham Regional Medical Center in Young County (400 Moderna doses), Wichita Falls Local Health District in Wichita County (500 Moderna doses), Palo Pinto County Hospital District in Palo Pinto County (100 Moderna doses), Best Value Waddy Pharmacy in Palo Pinto County (100 Moderna doses), Walgreens Pharmacy in Palo Pinto County
(100 Moderna doses), City Drug Store of Jacksboro in Jack County (100 Moderna doses), Archer City Rural Health Clinic/Archer Family Clinic in Archer County (100 Moderna doses).
Of the 217 additional providers who received vaccine allocations this week, the distribution is being focused on providers which serve older adults, such as health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, community and rural clinics as well as others.
“Texas continues to vaccinate health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people 65 and older and those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it, so it will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for all the people in the priority populations who want to be vaccinated. Currently, there is not enough vaccine to supply every provider with vaccine every week.,” DSHS wrote in the release.
Along with the state allocation, the federal government has shipped 80,000 doses of vaccine to 376 pharmacy locations as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The program seeks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations in the country and is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacies. Pharmacies which are involved in the program include CVS, H-E-B, Walmart and several other independent pharmacies.
The state is currently in the phase of vaccine distribution called Phase 1A and Phase 1B. Phase 1A includes residents of longterm care facilities and frontline healthcare workers. Phase 1B focuses on people 65 years of age and older and those with certain medical conditions.
In a press release from the Texas Department of State Health Services distributed Dec. 21, the department stated the state will place priority on people who are at the greatest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 during the next phase of distribution.
According to a DSHS release, more than 70% of COVID-19 deaths in Texas have been from people 65 years of age and older, with evidence showing that adults of any age can have an increased risk of hospitalization or death with certain medical conditions if they get sick with COVID-19.
The Texas Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine priorities will include people 65 years of age and older and people 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
DSHS lists some examples of chronic medical conditions which are not limited to cancer, chronic kidney disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies), solid organ transplantation, obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/ m2 or higher), pregnancy, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.