More COVID-19 Vaccines Are on Their Way State Says, Meanwhile Comal County’s Still Out
Phones are ringing off the hook at Comal County’s Office of Public Health.
People want to know where and when they can get COVID-19 vaccines.
The answer, according to Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser, is that nobody knows for sure.
Her department already received its full allotment of vaccines and administered more than 200 Moderna vaccines to medical first responders and frontline medical partners. Public health doesn’t have any more vaccine. Although the county expects to receive 200 more vaccines in two weeks, those will be used to give those already vaccinated a second shot.
Fraser told Commissioners Court on Thursday that it isn’t clear when more vaccines will arrive from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and suggested the public visit mycomalcounty.com for updates.
However, DSHS today tried to clarify the confusion surrounding rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Starting next week, Texas will direct most COVID-19 of the vaccines received to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.
In a press release, the agency said the goal of this plan is to make the vaccine to more people and create a simpler way to sign up for an appointment. Texas instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 234 providers this week.
This includes 28 “hub providers” that will focus on large community-vaccination efforts as Texas vaccinates health care workers, people 65 and older, and those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Hub providers will receive 158,825 doses of vaccine based on the number of people each provider estimated it could serve in a week. An additional 38,300 doses will go to other providers to continue vaccination in communities statewide.
Comal County is not on its list of hub providers although Bexar County will receive shipments of the vaccine. Providers in 104 counties will receive vaccine shipments this week, bringing the total number of counties to 222. Vaccine already has been administered to residents of all 254 counties.
Texas will reserve another 121,875 doses for the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care. This completes the first doses the state has been required to set aside, freeing up that much more vaccine to be shipped to providers each week in the future, DSHS said. Texas providers also will receive about 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people vaccinated a few weeks ago.
Click here for more information and to see a list of 28 hub providers. Visit the registration link of a hub to sign up.
All Phase 1A and 1B individuals are eligible to receive their first vaccine at these hubs, regardless of where they reside.
- Phase 1A: Frontline healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities
- Phase 1B: People over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19
The state said vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it. It will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for all the people in the priority populations whose want to be vaccinated. The supply is expected to increase in the coming months, and additional vaccines are in clinical trials and may be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
DSHS warns people against just showing up unless walk-ups are accepted.
“Depending on the provider, you may be placed on a waiting list and may be contacted (phone, email, or text) when vaccines become available. Please look carefully at the hub’s registration site for details,” the DSHS press release said.
Providers will focus on vaccinating areas and populations hardest hit by COVID‑19.
Vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all, DSHS said.
On Jan. 7, Democratic Texas legislators signed a letter asking Gov. Greg Abbott and Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, to improve the state’s vaccination rollout process.
According to information posted today to the department’s COVID-19 dashboard:
- Doses allocated – 1,860,925
- Doses shipped – 1,566,500
- People vaccinated with at least one dose – 687,846
- People fully vaccinated – 64,478
- Doses administered – 752,324
Dr. Dottie Overman, who resigned as Comal County’s health authority in November, said on Facebook that limited supplies of vaccine are frustrating providers but warns the situation might not resolve itself for months.
“Every time I have posted where a vaccine is available the vaccine oro appointments to get it are full practically before I can send the post,” she said. “City of San Antonio filled up 9,000 appointments in 10 minutes. I understand your frustration. Every location thatis giving vaccines is feeling the same frustration. We want to give everyone a vaccine. We don’t have enough to do that. More vaccine is coming.
“We will be dealing with limited supplies for awhile, maybe months,” Dr. Overman said. “Healthcare workers have incredibly difficult jobs made harder by COVID. Please give them your appreciation not your anger/frustration.”
H-E-B, Brookshire Brothers and CVS are among other Canyon Lake-area providers who have announced they will innoculate the general public as vaccines become available.