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Local COVID-19 vaccination update: January 24

Health officials say the Texas vaccine supply is limited but more arrives every week and it will take time to vaccinate all.
Health officials say the Texas vaccine supply is limited but more arrives every week and it...
Health officials say the Texas vaccine supply is limited but more arrives every week and it will take time to vaccinate all.(WBKO)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 8:02 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 11:59 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The state of Texas will receive 332,750 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government this week.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship those doses to 212 providers across Texas. That includes 82 hub providers that will focus on larger community vaccination efforts and 130 additional providers.

In addition to the first doses mentioned above, the state is ordering 216,350 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago. DSHS automatically allocates second doses to providers based on the number of first doses they received, so people should be able to return to the same provider to receive their second dose.

Click here to view the state’s dashboard on vaccine distribution in Texas.

The 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. The amount of vaccine provided to Texas is expected to remain steady for the next few weeks. Additional vaccines are in clinical trials, and Johnson & Johnson could request authorization for its vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration as early as next month.

WHERE CAN I GET A VACCINE

Texas continues to receive doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and is distributing statewide.

If you are in Phase 1a or 1b and eligible to receive the vaccine, please check the COVID‑19 Vaccination Hub Providers page to find a hub near you and learn how to register.

You can also check the websites of providers on the Texas COVID‑19 Vaccine Availability map to see if they have enough vaccine supply at this time.

Brazos County:

In Brazos County, a vaccination hub will soon be open at the Brazos Center, but it’s currently in a testing phase. To be placed on a waiting list, sign up with St. Joseph Health by clicking here. When the hub is open, vaccines will only be given to those who have registered online.

Vaccines are also being sent to the following providers, but supplies are very limited. You should not assume vaccines are available at this time.

Washington County:

Washington County has a regional subHUB for COVID-19 vaccine distribution at the Washington County Expo Center. 2,000 additional vaccines arrived on Saturday and callbacks for appointments has already begun to those on the registration list from Monday, January 18.

The caller ID may display as 800-845-8035. Three attempts will be made to contact you for an appointment. If you miss a call, PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE 800 NUMBER BACK. There are no agents to receive calls.

Continue to monitor the Washington County Office of Emergency Management page here for future updates.

If you do not have an appointment for a vaccine, please do not come to the Expo. If you have questions, please call 800-845-8035.

NOT ENOUGH VACCINES AVAILABLE

Vaccine doses that are sent from the state are limited right now in the Brazos Valley. Even those who are eligible to receive the vaccine, are being put on a waiting list until additional supplies arrive. Health officials are asking everyone to be patient during the waiting period.

It’s unclear when the next shipments will arrive. It’s also unclear how many will be sent in the next batch. This is part of the challenge for providers as they set up a distribution system.

Remember:

  • Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for a vaccine.
  • Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability.
  • Call only if the website doesn’t answer your questions.

WHO CAN GET A VACCINE RIGHT NOW?

In the state of Texas, front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID‑19 vaccine.

Phase 1B recipients include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • 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, such as but not limited to: Cancer Chronic kidney disease COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) 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 Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Do you have a fear of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear.

After Phase 1, who gets the vaccine next and when?

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available. The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) is considering what criteria could be used for later stages of vaccine distribution. This webpage will be updated when those decisions are completed.

When will teachers, critical infrastructure workers, essential workers and other front-line workers not included in 1A, be eligible for the vaccine?

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public who are not considered Phase 1B. No specific occupation or group is specifically identified in 1B; however, all occupations will have some individuals who meet the 1B criteria. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.

Additional information for educators and school staff is available in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) K-12 COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ.

Do I need to get vaccinated if I’ve already recovered from COVID-19?

Yes. Immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine may last longer than the natural immunity you get if you’ve already had COVID-19.

People who currently have COVID-19 should not be vaccinated while being sick.

Does everyone have to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. Getting vaccinated is voluntary and cannot be required since the vaccine is being distributed under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Once the vaccines are fully licensed, different laws may apply. Regardless, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is another way to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading COVID-19.

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE STATE’S VACCINE DISTRIBUTION DASHBOARD: Please note this feature may work best on a desktop computer. Health officials also stress that the data on this page may be delayed from real-time reporting by local providers.

How are the COVID-19 vaccines different from other vaccines?

Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection. But every type of vaccine works by teaching our bodies how to make cells that trigger an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Currently, there are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines that are or soon will be undergoing large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials in the United States:

  • mRNA vaccines
  • Protein subunit vaccines
  • Vector vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not alter your DNA. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an immune response without having to experience sickness.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work on the Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Why should I take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Getting this vaccine once it is available to you represents one step that you can take to get the Texas economy, and our day-to-day lives, back to normal.

How do I know whether the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. The new COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of volunteers during clinical trials. The vaccines are only authorized for use if they are found to be safe.

Even though they found no safety issues during the clinical trials, CDC and other federal partners will continue to monitor the new vaccines. They watch out for serious side effects (or “adverse events”) using vaccine safety monitoring systems, like the new V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker app.

For the most up-to-date information, see the Vaccine Safety section of the CDC website.

To learn about CDC’s new vaccine safety monitoring system, see the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker section of the CDC website.

Who decides how many vaccines Texas gets?

CDC determines how many doses of vaccine Texas will receive each week, based on population. Once the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is notified of the number of doses expected the following week, DSHS staff presents possibilities for vaccine distribution to the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP). The panel makes modifications and recommendations to the Commissioner of Health, who makes the final decision on that week’s distribution.

Who decides how to distribute the vaccine in Texas?

In Texas, DSHS distributes the vaccine with the guidance of the EVAP, appointed by the Health Commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt.

How did DSHS decide who to immunize first?

The Commissioner of Health appointed an EVAP to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions. This includes identifying groups that should be vaccinated first. The goal is to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources. EVAP developed Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles (PDF) that provide the foundation for the Texas vaccine allocation process.

For additional FAQs about the vaccine, click here.

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