AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Texas expands the COVID-19 vaccine to other groups, some health care workers in unique situations feel they’re being left behind.
“My staff and I are being told by hospitals and health care facilities who have vaccines available the COVID vaccine is not available to us, because we don’t work directly for the hospital,” one person told KXAN in an email. He said he works for an air ambulance company, transporting patients with COVID-19.
Texas House Representative Vikki Goodwin said she is trying to connect the paramedic with a vaccine, while fielding concerns from other health care workers about the vaccination rollout.
“Because the vaccine is typically allocated in pairs and is still in such limited supply, we’ve yet to connect him with a provider,” said Goodwin. “We’re continuing to work on the case as we’re able.”
One mental health contractor told KXAN she visits patients at three long-term care facilities in Central Texas. She says she got the Moderna vaccine in a different state, but the long-term care facilities in Texas couldn’t give her the second dose, telling her they had only Pfizer’s vaccine.
“It’s frustrating, but I think because I’m a health care worker, I understand how stressful things are right now,” said the mental health worker, who didn’t want her name or company’s name used in the story.
For health care workers, the group most likely to be exposed to the virus, the vaccination process isn’t flexible to unique situations.
Several health care workers have reached out to tell us they’re being turned down for shots, because they aren’t employed by a specific hospital or nursing home.
The Texas Department of State Health Services says it recommends providers that haven’t received the vaccine, to partner with providers that do.
“There are also the larger hub sites that are vaccinating people in both the 1A and 1B populations,” said a DSHS spokesperson. “We’ll see more of those sites this week as we have more vaccine available from our federal partners to direct to large and small providers. They may also want to reach out to where they usually get health care to see if those providers have vaccine available.”
The advice isn’t relevant to the health care worker we spoke with. She says she’s tried to sign up with nearly every vaccine provider in town, with no such luck.
“There might be some unique cases such as mine, and we should take those cases on a case by case basis,” she said.