Vaccines for COVID-19 are slowly trickling into Liberty County. Brookshire Brother pharmacies, Health Center of Southeast Texas and Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center have already received shipments of vaccines.
With the demand greater than the supply, the Health Center of Southeast Texas in Cleveland distributed their supply within a few short days, though more shipments are expected. At Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center, the first round vaccines was distributed faster than a press release sent out by the hospital announcing the vaccines could be posted.
Now Texas Emergency Hospital in Cleveland is starting to receive shipments and has been selected as a vaccination hub by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The first shipments of vaccines are expected to arrive at the hospital on Thursday, Jan. 21.
Currently in Texas, as there is a limited supply, the rollout for the vaccines is being prioritized in two phases. Phase 1A is for frontline healthcare workers, residents at long-term care facilities, home health workers, pharmacies, last responders and school nurses. Phase 1B is for persons 65 and older, or 16 and older with at least one chronic medical condition, including pregnancy. Other chronic conditions for people 16 and older would include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, solid organ transplantation, obesity, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Patti Foster, the COO of Texas Emergency Hospital, is thrilled that the first vaccines are beginning to arrive.
“We have tried since October to bring the vaccines to our healthcare workers in the area. Our staff is not vaccinated. They are our frontline workers who are still dealing with patients, some with COVID-19,” Foster said. “I finally made a call last week to State Rep. Ernest Bailes and then spoke to Will Carter with Congress Babin’s office. They were so helpful. We received a notice shortly afterward that we will be receiving vaccines. A couple of days later, I received an invitation to fill out a survey to become a vaccine hub. We were approved on Sunday afternoon.”
Being a vaccine hub puts Texas Emergency Hospital in a different classification by the state, Foster said.
“We are being allotted a certain amount of vaccines. Those allotments do not come in the number promised a lot of times, so we aren’t really saying how many we will have until the shipment arrives,” she said.
The hospital was told to expect less than 1,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine with the actual number to arrive being closer to 700-800 vaccines.
“That’s our hope but we still do not know until it arrives,” Foster said. “In the meantime, we are practicing and getting ready for the rollout.”
Part of the hospital’s preparations were setting up a call center where qualifying individuals could schedule a vaccination appointment and establish an area near the hospital’s helicopter landing zone for a drive-through shot clinic.
“We will be doing a dry run first with staff to see how long it takes to get people’s information in the system. We are asking for people’s patience as they come for their vaccines. We are having to train our staff on administering these vaccines,” Foster said.
Texas Emergency Hospital’s plan is to schedule five people every 15 minutes between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. People receiving COVID-19 vaccinations are required to bring their completed paperwork or they will be turned away, and they must arrive prior to their appointment time.
Once the shots are administered, they will be required to remain on site for 15-30 minutes for a medical assessment to ensure they are not having an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
“This is a mandatory time period. We will have an ambulance standing by if someone has an adverse reaction,” Foster said.
The consent forms required to receive the vaccine ask for basic information, such as name, date of birth, address, mother’s first name and phone number. The vaccine will be provided for free.
The consent forms are posted to the Texas Emergency Hospital, https://www.emergencyhospitals.care/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Immunization-Registry-CDC-Prevaccination-Checklist.pdf, and are linked in this article by clicking the download or print buttons here:
To help people without access to a printer, Texas Emergency Hospital’s Jeremy Allen has arranged for three public buildings in Cleveland – Austin Memorial Library, Cleveland Senior Citizens Center and the City of Cleveland – to serve as packet pickup sites.
“We’re even asking the churches to help out. This is a community thing,” Allen said.
To schedule an appointment for the Pfizer vaccination, please call 281-806-7370 or 281-806-7380. The call center will be open Thursday, Jan. 21, and Friday, Jan. 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.