Growing concerns over availability of second COVID-19 vaccine doses

Texas coronavirus vaccine

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As thousands of Central Texans are getting their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are growing concerns about the availability for those needing their second dose.

On Thursday, Steve Lesem and his wife waited at Austin Public Health’s northeast Austin vaccination site to get their first shot.

“This was literally hundreds and several thousand elderly people many on walkers and wheelchairs, no one was socially distanced,” Lesem said.

It paints a clear picture of the demand for doses in the Austin area. With a limited supply at sites across the state, there’s still people in Phase 1A like healthcare workers who tell KXAN they are waiting to hear when they will get their second shot.

Tarrytown Pharmacy did its first round of vaccinations three weeks ago. By next week, those people will be ready for their second dose.

“While the state did theoretically allocate and reserve these doses for the second doses, they haven’t supplied them yet. It’s not something they are giving early,” said James Cong, director of Business Development at Tarrytown Pharmacy.

Although many shots are now going to larger mass vaccination sites, Cong says the pharmacy is slated to receive doses next week.

The Texas Department of State Health Services tells us providers who administered either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will receive the second doses in time to administer them 21 or 28 days after the first doses were given.

“We are next week going to see many more doses of vaccine available so we’ll have an opportunity to have more of those large-type providers and probably a combination of both,” said Chris Van Deusen, director of Media Relations at DSHS.

DSHS says regular vaccine allocations to Texas providers for this week are for populations in our Phase 1A and 1B groups.

“The improvement that we are looking for is that right now independent pharmacies all over the state like us, we are very agile and we can get up to 10,000 doses in arms in up to three weeks,” Cong said.

Austin Regional Clinic announced to patients that healthcare organizations in Central Texas won’t be designated as vaccination hubs, like how APH is. ARC doesn’t expect any new shipments of vaccines in the near future, but it does expect 8,000 doses of the booster shot for people who’ve already gotten their first.

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