As Texas leaders claim COVID vaccines are sitting on shelves, begging more in hospitals and pharmacies


Austin – State Reps. Michelle Beckley, D-Carolone, has no special access to the coronavirus virus vaccine, as she is an elected official.

He is a member of group 1B, the second group is eligible for a vaccine in the state’s priority list. She has a pre-existing condition that makes her susceptible to coronovirus, with her priority designation being only first responders, health care workers, and nursing home residents.

So when the state announced on Tuesday that vaccine providers could immediately begin vaccinating members of another group, including people 65 and older, Beckley said. for hours.

Four different providers could not give her the vaccine, but for different reasons – one was not open, the other said they only had a sufficient dose for medical workers, a third went out of their supply and a quarter. Going back and forth with him over a complex email chain.

Did not understand this. The day before, Gov. Greg Abbott said state data showed that a “significant portion” of Texas’ coronavirus vaccine allocation was sitting on shelves. The commissioner of the state Department of Health Services asked all providers to immediately vaccinate members of the other group, adding that he did not want to use any of the supplements.

But on the ground, providers across the state say they have run out of supplies – and many still haven’t done their work through the first priority group of frontline workers. And while Beckley was finally able to book a prestigious appointment the following week, others in Group 1B did not have such luck, and they are unsure where or who to consult to take the shot.

“All is confusion,” Beckley said. “There is nothing comfortable about this.”

Availability

As of Wednesday, state data indicated that 205,463 people have received the coronavirus virus vaccine, while 678,925 doses have been distributed to hospitals – pharmacies, hospitals, and other institutions throughout Texas.

But that data does not fully capture the view. The state’s reporting system experienced an ingestion error over the Christmas holiday, which has excluded approximately 48,000 doses from official figures. DSHS spokesman Lara Anton said 27,000 vaccines had not yet been uploaded because some providers used the wrong number to classify themselves. Those issues should be fixed in the coming days.

Then, another 144,400 doses of the modern vaccine – one of two, currently approved by the federal government – were delayed during shipment, arriving one week later than intended. Providers did not begin receiving those doses until Monday or Tuesday, but they were reflected in earlier state data.

And there is a normal reporting interval. Providers have 24 hours to submit their vaccination data to the state, and then another 24 hours to reflect that data on a public dashboard.

Anton said “it is possible” that a “significant portion” of coronavirus vaccines could be said to have been sitting on shelves. He said DSHS Commissioner John Hellersted first issued a letter last week to providers urging them to use all available supplies when the extent of those shipment delays and technical errors was not fully known, she said.

“A lot of things (that) are contributing to a lesser number than anyone thought,” Anton said.


Now, as the state moves to another eligible group in Texas, the issue is supply. Anton said the state does not currently have to hand over additional vaccine doses, as they wait for a weekly allocation from the federal government, and sometimes do not know the number of doses they will receive until the last minute.

Houston

In Houston, hospitals that are part of the Texas Medical Center said they are increasingly getting the vaccines they are receiving and keeping none in reserve.

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center reported Wednesday that he had more than 95 percent of the 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in his hand. A spokeswoman said Houston Methodist had scattered 19,000 of the 30,000 doses through Wednesday, although the hospital received about 10,000 doses.

Methodist spokeswoman Stephanie Asin said in a statement, “We have started this week vaccinating 75 patients who have used our facilities in the last two years.” “We’ll be over 65 after that.”

Bexer county

There are approximately 140,000 frontline health care workers in Bexar County who are now eligible to receive the vaccine, but the county has received only about 50,000 doses. Colin Bridger, interim director of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District, said 40,000 doses are certainly on the way, but it’s still not enough to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1A.

As of Tuesday, more than 31,000 people were vaccinated in the county, the number of which was increasing every day. On December 23, the county received a consignment of 1,100 vaccines and used them all within three days.

County Judge Nelson Wolfe, who was vaccinated on Wednesday, said the university’s hospital, the county’s public district hospital, has “not sat on the shelf”. Shelley Koeffler, a spokesperson for University Health, said she had received 6,475 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and had used more than 6,000 of them as of Wednesday.

Both University Health and Christmas Health in Phase 1B in San Antonio are preparing to begin offering the vaccine to mass people next week. A spokesperson for Methodist Healthcare said more information about extending vaccination to people in Phase 1B will be available in the coming days.

“Throughout San Antonio we haven’t quite gotten through that whole first phase and haven’t even received enough vaccines to actually do so,” Bridger said. “We are planning for a large-scale rollout of the vaccine when supplies become available and shipped to us.”

Illusion dissolves

HEB, one of the largest retailers in Texas offering the coronovirus vaccine, received approximately 28,000 doses of the vaccine on Christmas Eve. This allocation translates to about 100 doses per store, and “they don’t last very long,” said Dya Campos, HE-B government affairs director.

Campos said the company had already exhausted the allocation. HEB is not currently offering the vaccine to members of the second priority group, as it is still working through qualified frontline workers and long-term care residents.

Once the pharmacy receives a higher dose, it will open an online scheduler where people can sign up to receive the vaccine, she said.

“Right now the problem with 1B vaccination is supply,” Campos said. “As we get more supplies, we can broaden the group that we are currently vaccinating. … There is not much time in this process. Which can be disheartening for the general public. It is a very complex and fast moving process. “

Small, local providers are facing similar issues. At 38th Street Pharmacy in Austin, co-owner Jeffrey Warnken said he received 200 doses of the vaccine on Monday – and that’s already through his allocation. The remaining available shots are already scheduled to go into people’s arms by Monday.

“You want to send us more doses?” he said. “We will vaccinate these people, that’s great. But i don’t have any All my doses have been accounted for. “

And while members of the second priority group are struggling to find available doses, some members of Phase 1A say they are still left on the sidelines.

Margo Rocha, a San Antonio resident who worked as a monitor technician at University Hospital, said she received her first vaccine dose about two weeks ago – but her husband, who works directly with patients at a gastroenterology practice, has Said that he does not qualify as a frontline worker to receive the vaccine.

“I’m glad I got it, and I’m not happy that it couldn’t,” Rocha said on Tuesday. “He is willing to get it, but he doesn’t know who to ask except (his) employer, but the employer is not told. … If you can’t go to your employer, who do you go to? Huh? “

A professor at the Fike School of Pharmacy at the University of the word Avatar in San Antonio, Tony Dasher said many community pharmacies were likely to be surprised when the state suddenly authorized vaccination of people in Phase 1B, making it difficult for pharmacists happened. Still managing their businesses to coordinate the administration of the vaccine.

“The state needs to make sure that there is good communication and people know that there is going to be an adequate supply of vaccines, and they need to get vaccine supplies in the community now, and not later,” Dasher he said.

“The pharmacy has really come up and ready for this, but unfortunately there are other limiting factors that are going to cause dissatisfaction at the end of the day,” he said. “I think pharmacies will do their part if the state does.”

Anton, DSHS spokesman, reiterated that because supplies are still limited, members of Group 1B should regularly check in with their primary care doctors and other providers to check on availability.

Meanwhile, the governor’s office deferred a statewide effort to vaccinate Texas as soon as possible, while claiming that some providers are not using the vaccines provided to them.

“With no cost in new shipments arriving each week, the state of Texas is requesting providers to vaccinate more people from at-risk groups rather than these life-saving vaccines and drugs sitting on shelves.” Said in an email.

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