State officials are moving forward to increase opportunities for the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as treatment for those who are sickened by the virus.
The Texas Department of State Health Services Sunday announced that it had set up 28 hub providers for the vaccine, and had instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship first doses of the vaccine to 234 providers this week.
Dallas County’s hub providers are Dallas County Health and Human Services, Parkland Hospital, and UT Southwestern, who will receive 6,000, 6,825, and 10,000 doses respectively. Contact information for each hub provider can be found here.
The hub providers 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.
The hubs will receive a total of 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. Providers in 104 counties will receive vaccine shipments this week, bringing the cumulative number of counties to 222. Vaccines have been administered to residents of all 254 Texas counties.
In addition to the vaccine outlined above, Texas will reserve 121,875 doses for the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program. 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. Texas providers will also receive about 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago.
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.
The supply is expected to increase in the coming months, and additional vaccines are in clinical trials and may be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management had established two COVID-19 therapeutic infusion centers in Fort Worth and Irving. Both centers will begin accepting patients on Monday, and will treat them with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies and bamlanivimab.
Patients will need to be referred by a doctor or hospital for the treatment.
The infusion centers have been established through a partnership with TDEM and the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
“Increasing access to COVID-19 therapeutic treatments is a proven strategy to reduce hospitalizations and save lives,” said Abbott. “I thank our partners from the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council for working with the State of Texas to establish these infusion centers. Together, we will continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.”