AUSTIN (KXAN ) — A spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services says all first doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been allocated to the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. But the department says not all doses have been administered.
On Tuesday, spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said pharmacies have reported vaccinating 121,251 people so far. In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the pharmacies had administered 124,827 doses, but Van Deusen says that number was not updated.
Texas has set aside a total of 487,500 doses for the pharmacy companies to dispense. That means only about 25% of the allocated doses have actually been administered by CVS and Walgreens.
Abbott called on the companies to move faster — again.
“We, as a state, continue to insist that Walgreens and CVS pick up their pace,” he said. “Texas is now administering 78% of vaccines, Walgreens and CVS are only at 26% of their vaccine administrations.”
KXAN spoke with Continental Retirement Community in Austin back in November. The executive director had said enrolling felt like a weight was lifted off his shoulders.
But after being one of the first in the area to sign up for the pharmacy program, on Tuesday, they tell KXAN they are still trying to schedule their first dose.
A spokesperson for CVS Health says the governor’s numbers don’t paint a full picture. She says allotment includes two doses for each patient that have to be given weeks apart.
“This is why looking at the number of vaccine clinics we have completed at each facility provides a more accurate assessment of the significant progress we are making within the program parameters, as agreed to by the state.
Since Texas first activated the program on 12/28, we will complete first doses for all 581 skilled-nursing facilities who have chosen to partner with CVS Health by 1/21, bringing peace of mind to thousands of long-term care residents, staff and their loved ones. And we have completed 73% of the 1,431 assisted living and other facilities with whom we are honored to serve.”CVS Health
Van Deusen says the facilities that have gotten their first shots will be contacted for the booster. That includes the Village at the Triangle, a retirement community in Austin, where Hazel Nichols lives.
“I think I’m 98, am I not? Let’s see… ” Nichols calculated.
She has seen a lot change over her life.
“98 in June.” one of the staff members reminded.
“So, I’m 97. So, I’m sorry, I don’t want to be older than I am,” Nichols laughed.
A change she doesn’t necessarily welcome: life during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t get to see my family, like I usually did,” said Nichols, whose daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughter all live in the Austin area.
“Monday was my day. And so, they all came on Mondays, and we are here in my apartment, which is — I have a lovely apartment room for them to come and eat with me when we were able to do that. Everybody misses that,” she said.
A shot in her arm meant a step toward her normal social life.
The Village Executive Director Joel Quade says they mainly partnered with Tarrytown, an independent pharmacy, to vaccinate about 200 residents.
He says 10 were out of town, and so they partnered with CVS to set up another clinic.
Quade says communication with CVS has gotten better but has remained difficult. Still, he says he is “hoping for the best” as their booster shot clinic date approaches next Tuesday.
Long-term care facilities in Texas also had the option of requesting a COVID-19 vaccine from the state, as a back up plan to the federal pharmacy partnership, to access vaccines after the federal program ends or if they missed the pharmacy partnership registration.
Van Deusen says about 275 facilities have enrolled with the state or are in the process of doing so to become vaccine providers so they can vaccinate their own staff and residents.
Other facilities say communications and clinics with CVS and Walgreens have gone smoothly.
Stonegate Senior Living, LLC has nearly 20 properties in Texas and says their partnership with Walgreens “has been great”, and “they have been very helpful with the coordination and professional in their approaches,” wrote a spokesperson.