Some rural Central Texas counties will see an increase in COVID-19 vaccines for week 8

Bastrop County

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — Some rural areas of Central Texas will see an increase in COVID-19 vaccines.

In Caldwell County, for example, Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital received 200 doses in week seven. For week eight, the Department of State Health Services has increased that to 500 vaccines.

DSHS is also set to ship doses to two additional Caldwell County facilities — 100 to the Lockhart Family Practice Center and 100 to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Lockhart.

Caldwell County does not yet have a designated hub with the state.

Bastrop County’s hub is set to receive 1,000 doses, the same as week seven.

However, it will also see two more facilities get the vaccine in week eight: Bastrop Family Practice is scheduled for 100 and Communitycare Obgyn Bastrop 200 doses.

It’s welcome news for Dr. Desmar Walkes, Bastrop County’s health authority who is working on Saturday.

“These are all volunteers, by the way,” she says, pointing the web camera to the room. “They’ve spent hours and hours and hours in here.”

Desmar and her team are planning for the hub’s vaccine clinic next week.

But vaccine allocations for additional providers can change pretty dramatically from week to week.

For example, in week six, besides Bastrop County’s hub, only Walmart received 300 doses to distribute. In week seven, DSHS didn’t give any other providers the vaccine besides the hub. In week eight, that’s gone up to two providers.

“Ultimately we’re not 100 percent sure each and every week about what the vaccine allocation will be,” Imelda Garcia, DSHS Associate Commissioner, told reporters on Thursday.

Garcia says the state isn’t sure what they’ll get from the federal government each week and that’s the reason DSHS isn’t adding any new hubs for week eight.

It’s also the reason another spokesperson gave KXAN when we asked why the additional provider list can shift week to week.

“The hubs are guaranteed to get a certain amount of vaccine each week so they can plan their operations into the future, and they’ll continue to receive a consistent amount next week. We also want to get vaccine to other providers that can serve a variety of populations, like the 100+ federally qualified health centers, community health centers and rural health clinics that will receive vaccine next week.

Until Texas receives enough vaccine each week to supply to every provider in the state, we’ll have to shift it among providers from week to week.”

Chris Van Deusen
Director of Media Relations
Texas Dept. of State Health Services

“We try to work really closely with our local partners and help direct providers — direct vaccines to those providers and areas to make sure that vaccine is available,” Garcia said on Thursday.

Dr. Walkes says with a waitlist of more than 45,000 people, she’ll take any vaccine help she can get — even if it does change every week.

“Everybody is trying to put the fire out basically at the same time and that’s helpful,” she says.

Van Deusen says even if a provider gets a vaccine shipment one week and not another week, the agency keeps track of the doses and the timeline.

It orders second doses to arrive the week they can begin to be used. That’s three weeks after the first doses are shipped for Pfizer, and four weeks for Moderna.

In week seven, Travis County received vaccines at three locations, in week eight it’s up to five.

They include three CommUnitycare clinics, the HEB pharmacy on I-35 near East William Cannon Drive and the Lone Star Circle of Care at Jonestown in Leander.

None of these are getting more than 200 doses.

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