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County receives unexpected COVID vaccines, will distribute Feb. 12

February 10, 2021 - 00:00
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  • County receives unexpected COVID vaccines, will distribute Feb. 12
    This chart shows the state’s progress in COVID vaccines. The State of Texas has said that Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccines will be available to the general public, but that may change. Courtesy | DSHS

Colorado County EMS was notified Monday evening that 200 doses of vaccine will be delivered for distribution this week. “Our Sub-Hub Plan has not yet been approved by the state and this allocation came as a surprise. We confirmed that it is separate from and not connected to our Sub Hub Plan submitted for state approval on January 24, 2021,” a statement from county officials stated.

The county said they did not have a registration and distribution system in place for this event because it was not expected.

“Due to the surprise nature of this allocation and the short timeline we have to administer these doses, we contacted the four pharmacies in our county who have not received any doses of vaccines and will use equal numbers from each pharmacy’s pre-registered lists,” the statement went on to say.

Officials will contact the first 50 pre-registered patients from each pharmacy’s list to compile a master list for the vaccination event this coming Friday, Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Colorado County Fairgrounds.

“We felt it was most important to try and service the numerous individuals who were pre-registered at their respective pharmacy in the tiers directed by the state at this stage. We also concluded that the foregoing approach was the best manner we had to fairly and equitably distribute these 200 vaccines countywide in a short timeframe,” officials explained.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management’s COVID vaccine map (last updated Feb. 3) shows that Rice Medical Center in Eagle Lake was shipped 100 vaccines, however, they have none available at this time.

Information for Columbus Community Hospital (last updated Feb. 9) indicates the facility has had 1,700 doses shipped and none currently available.

The vaccine data provided for Colorado County by DSHS states 2,400 total doses have been allocated for the county, and 2,372 doses have been administered.

There have been 1,975 Colorado County residents vaccinated with at least one dose and 397 are reported to be fully vaccinated. Of Colorado County’s estimated 21,224 residents, 17,107 are 16 years old and older, and 4,850 are 65 and older.

Colorado County is reported to have 853 residents who qualify for Phase 1A healthcare workers, 477 as Phase 1A long-term care residents and 5,957 between the ages of 16-64 with any medical condition.

The State of Texas has said that Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccines will be available to the general public, but that may change.

Waves of info trickle in

Information continues to come in unsteady waves, much like the doses of vaccines. “There have been many times during the past twelve months when real-time information is simply not available or not provided to counties and cities from the federal and state levels. I, like you, would always prefer to be able to answer all questions asked by our citizens within a day or two. However, living, working and functioning in a pandemic, which inherently is characterized by many first experiences and decisions, does not provide that luxury,” Colorado County Judge Ty Prause shared with The Citizen.

Rhae Cisneros, Planning and Intelligence Section Chief with DSHS, said she could not speak to how the Jan. 30 vaccine event in Colorado County chose vaccine recipients, but “according to DSHS, priority should be given to Phase 1A, then 1B if vaccines remain. Generally, vaccines should not be limited to a single county’s residents, but it is up to the provider that was allocated the vaccines to ultimately determine who will receive each dose.”

Cisneros said that many COVID-19 vaccine providers are keeping waiting lists statewide, “some are ongoing and some are for a specif ic event and do not roll over.” Columbus Community Hospital CEO James Vanek said, “Columbus Community hospital placed advertisement in the Citizen paper and CCH website for the general public (Phase 1B) instructions on registration for the CCH waiting list. This was in order to distribute COVID-19 vaccine in accordance with the Texas Health and Human Services Phase 1A and Phase 1B guidelines.”

If you are on a waiting list, please contact that facility to see if their waiting lists roll over or are event specific.

For questions related to COVID testing, vaccines and wait lists, Cisneros recommends the community review the TDEM COVID-19 Testing Collection Sites map and the Vaccine Availability map online. To see weekly vaccine allocations, visit dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccineallocations.aspx.

The testing sites map can be found at https://tdem.maps.arcgis.com, and the vaccine availability information can be found at arcgis.com. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccine information beforehand.