Katlyn Reed is 80 years old but cannot find a COVID-19 vaccine. “I tried calling probably almost 20 places,” the manual’s editor said.
In the current confusion of the vaccine rollout in Texas, seniors and their families still find it nearly impossible to acquire a dose of the coveted vaccine.
“There isn’t enough for everyone,” said Harry Still, who is looking for a vaccine for his mother. “It’s very frustrating and I mean it starts at the federal government and goes to our local community.”
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Adding to the frustration, people are seeing other people who are younger or who don’t appear to have a medical problem post pictures of themselves getting the vaccine on social media.
However, the reality is that the main reason there is not enough vaccine is a lack of supplies. There simply aren’t enough doses for everyone who wants one. According to the Texas Department of State Health Serves (DSHS), the state agency has distributed approximately 2.06 million doses.
However, Texas has approximately 1.6 million healthcare workers considered in Phase 1A. Phase 1B, which includes the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, encompasses approximately 9.5 million Texans. So even in the best of circumstances, there are currently only enough doses for one in five eligible Texans.
But there are signs of improvement. This week, DSHS finally moved from a “decentralized” model to a “hub” model.
The decentralized plan originally required Texans to be vaccinated by their neighborhood pharmacy or their own doctor. But, many Texans do not have a pharmacy near their home or a doctor attached to one of the major hospital systems.
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Now the focus is on vaccination centers which can vaccinate thousands of people per day. In Harris County, the Harris County Public Health Department, the City of Houston Public Health Department, and the Methodist Hospital are the designated centers.
“We’re stocked for those slots for the hub for this weekend,” said Rob Phillips, Houston Methodist chief medical officer. “We hope to get more supply from the state, and we will always be able to create another hub when it becomes available.”
State officials said during an appeal to lawmakers on Tuesday that they expected the incoming Biden administration to release all doses of the vaccine when it takes over next week. Officials say they expect available doses to increase in Texas in early February.
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