The Texas Department of State Health Services has published “Week 1” of its COVID-19 vaccine allocations, but as of that date, Parker and Palo Pinto counties have not made the list. 

The first week’s allocation is 224,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be shipped to 109 hospitals in 34 counties as early as the week of Dec. 14, depending on when the vaccine is authorized for use in the United States, according to the Department of State Health Services.

The distribution of the vaccine in Texas is being determined by the COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. The allocations should be updated moving forward, Parker County Health Authority Dr. Steven Welch said, adding that there is still no firm date as to when “Week 1” is. 

The Week 1 vaccine allocations list several Texas counties, including Tarrant County.

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is set to receive 4,875 doses; Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth will receive 975 doses; Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth is set to receive 5,850 doses; and Cook Children’s Occupational Health Services will receive 3,900 doses. Other hospitals in Tarrant County include Medical Center of Arlington, 975 doses; Texas Health Huguley Hospital in Burleson, 975; and Baylor Scott and White Hospital in Grapevine, 975 doses.

“Medical City Healthcare hospitals have filed all the appropriate paperwork and we are looking forward to vaccinating colleagues as soon as a vaccine is available,” Medical City Weatherford and Fort Worth Director of Community and Public Relations Tommy Dold said.

According to a document from DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt, protecting healthcare workers is essential to keeping the health care system intact and able to care for COVID-19 and other patients, so phase 1A of vaccine distribution will focus on making the vaccine available to healthcare workers.

The first tier includes:

• Hospital staff working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19;

• Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents;

• EMS providers who engage in 911 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport;

• Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients;

• And residents of long-term care facilities.

The second tier includes:

• Staff in outpatient care offices who interact with symptomatic patients;

• Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics;

• Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID-19;

• Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations;

• And last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19.

“Once one or more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, vaccine will be in limited supply as production ramps up. During this period, Texas will receive regular allotments of vaccine from the federal government,” according to the document. “Vaccine will be shipped directly to enrolled COVID-19 vaccine providers as allocated by the Department of State Health Services. Those providers will then immunize Texans who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

On Dec. 9, Parker County reported 483 active COVID-19 cases, 4,373 total recoveries and 74 deaths. Palo Pinto County reported 1,413 total positive COVID-19 cases, 3,960 negative reports and 37 pending tests as of Dec. 9. 

Hospital capacity

A new dashboard has been set up to report COVID-19 hospitalizations weekly.

As of this week’s report, Parker County had 18.5% hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and 47.8% ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to the Carlson School of Management dashboard. Palo Pinto County had 30.7% hospitals beds occupied by COVID-19 patients — no ICU bed percentage was listed. 

Texas as a whole had 9,053 COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday morning and 23,081 deaths. 

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