Texas Sees Delays Amid Push for Faster Vaccine Rollout – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
While heads of state are pushing hospitals for faster vaccinations against COVID-19, Texas health officials are recognizing that some shipments have been delayed or need to be replaced, and some vendors are reporting they still haven’t got enough to keep up with the next round of in Ask coming patient to begin.
Some vaccine shipments expected last week have been delayed and vendors haven’t received them until Monday or Tuesday this week, a health ministry spokeswoman said.
The Texas Hospital Association said Wednesday that several shipments of the Moderna version of the vaccine would have to be postponed and replaced amid concerns that refrigerated storage requirements had been impacted. Moderna officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A defense secretary overseeing the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout confirmed that some shipments have experienced temperature issues.
“Operation Warp Speed is tracking some incidents of temperature readings outside of the acceptable threshold,” the statement said. “Either way, the process worked – the shipment was inspected and replaced as necessary. We are confident that both the security measures and contingency plans to overcome these types of incidents are of integrity.”
David Matthews, a spokesman for McKesson Corp., which sells the Moderna vaccines, said the company followed the federal agencies’ protocol for Disease Control and Prevention for replacement orders.
At least one hospital group, Ascension Seton in Austin, announced Wednesday that it has distributed approximately 10,000 vaccines to healthcare workers and first responders in the area, but will continue to focus on that group and begin the next phase of eligible patients , “if the supply allows”.
In a letter to vaccine providers on Tuesday, state health commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt, you could start giving vaccines to people aged 65 and over and in other designated high-risk categories. Hellerstedt and Governor Greg Abbott urged hospitals to fire as soon as possible and suggested that some might withhold cans.
The Ascension Hospital Group “does not hold any COVID-19 vaccines in reserve,” said spokeswoman Danielle Hall.
According to state health figures, Texas had received nearly 679,000 doses of vaccine by Tuesday, and about 205,000 Texans had received at least one round.
However, Hellerstedt and Abbott’s comments show growing frustration that the numbers are no bigger. But Abbott, a Republican criticized by Democrats and his own party for the state’s 2020 coronavirus response, has said little about the vaccine’s launch in recent days outside of a Tuesday tweet that no doses were kept in reserve should be.
Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said the governor had ordered state health and emergency management officials to “strategically reinforce” medical teams to help with vaccinations in long-term care facilities.
Texas “urges vendors to quickly vaccinate as many people at risk as possible instead of having those life-saving vaccines and drugs on the shelves,” Eze said.
Texas hit a record high of more than 11,992 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 17,458 newly confirmed cases on Wednesday. The state also noted 326 newly reported deaths. Texas has reported more than 26,000 deaths in total.
Officials in some of the state’s largest cities stepped up efforts to prevent the virus from spreading during the New Year holidays.
In Harris County, which includes Houston, residents received a warning to cancel all gatherings and not celebrate the holidays with anyone outside their household.
In Austin, officials moved to curb social gatherings and parties with new limits on food and beverage service in restaurants and bars.
According to the order, all venues where food and drinks are served are not completely closed, but are limited to drive-through, curb, delivery or take-out from Thursday to Sunday morning every evening from 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. -Service.
The order was also reprimanded by Governor and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who sued the city and Travis County for overturning it.
In a letter to city and county officials, Paxton said the order inappropriately restricted business hours in violation of an earlier order from the governor. The Texas Restaurant Association also called it unfair business restrictions.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said health officials are trying to compensate for growing hospital stays and new cases.
“We are now facing our most dangerous prospects,” said Adler.
Texas previously sued local governments for attempting tough shutdown orders. But Paxton made no objection when San Antonio, less than 100 miles south of Austin, put similar restrictions on Thanksgiving weekend.
Adler said the city’s lawyers had been consulted on the Austin order. Travis County Judge Andy Brown called it “the closest we can think of”.
Acacia Coronado is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national service program that lets journalists report undercover issues to local newsrooms