What’s next with the COVID-19 Vaccine in Texas and Rockwall County?

Graphic from dshs.texas.gov

ROCKWALL, TX – Dec. 31, 2020 – We know there are many questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, and Blue Ribbon News and Rockwall County wants to help. Here is the most current information from Rockwall County. We will continue to share updates with you as soon as we have them. What we do know is that supply is limited, and so is the available information.

Here’s what we know:

The FDA voted on 12/14/20 to approve the Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer & BioNTech Vaccine for all Phase 1 candidates. The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine that requires the second dose at 21 days.

The FDA met and approved the Moderna Vaccine on 12/18/20. Moderna is also a two-dose vaccine that requires the second dose 28 days after the first dose.

According to information provided by the Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management (RCOEM) and the Texas DSHS COVID-19 Provider Locations Map, three locations in Rockwall have received shipments of the vaccine (Baylor Scott and White – Lake Pointe, Sandknop Health Group, and Healthcare Associates of Irving LLP).

*The map shows all COVID-19 vaccine providers that have received a shipment of vaccine and includes information submitted by providers when they enrolled. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have the vaccine on hand, and that you are eligible for vaccine at that site. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status. 

The RCOEM is advising those seeking information to contact these providers directly. The RCOEM has contacted the providers to see what message they are providing to callers, which they report is as follows:

  • Baylor, Scott and White – Lake Pointe is currently vaccinating phase 1A healthcare workers.
  • Sandknop Health Group is currently reporting that all doses they have received have been allocated; callers should call back in 7-10 days.
  • Healthcare Associates of Irving LLP has an automated message referring callers to sign up for the wait list online by visiting healthcareassociates.com.

At this time, RCOEM is referring callers to sign up for the Healthcare Associates online wait list.  Other locations in the Region also have wait lists you may want to try.

As of 12/31/2020, the RCOEM reports that Rockwall County has:

  • A population of 81,869 of 16 and older.
  • A population of 14,227 of people that are 65 and older.
  • 4,867 Phase 1A healthcare workers that can potentially be vaccinated.
  • 1,327 Phase 1A long term care residents that can potentially be vaccinated.
  • 554 Rockwall County residents who have been vaccinated.
  • Two providers in the county that have received a total of 600 doses of vaccines.
  • One hospital, Baylor, Scott & White – Lake Pointe, that received 700 doses and is administering to health care providers.
  • One hospital, Texas Health Hospital Rockwall, that is partnering with its larger system hospitals to administer to their health care providers.
  • Partnered with Rockwall County EMS to be a registered provider and vaccine administrator for Rockwall County. EMS is pending approval and once approved will request vaccines and administer to several groups of essential personnel and first responders in Rockwall County.
  • Coordinated with city medical providers to guarantee providers are enrolled in the vaccine program to ensure employees have access to the vaccine when those groups are eligible to receive it.  These medical providers also service the public.
  • Coordinated with Garland Health and Rowlett Emergency Management to vaccinate nine detention officers.
  • Coordinated with the jail and their medical provider to guarantee their provider was enrolled in the vaccine program to ensure detention officers and inmates have access to the vaccine when those groups are eligible to receive it.
  • Coordinated with Independent School Districts and their medical providers to guarantee the provider was enrolled in the vaccine program to ensure nurses and teachers have access to vaccines. Currently this provider is offering vaccines to school nurses.  Nurses must drive to Grapevine, but vaccines are available to Rockwall ISD and Royse City ISD nurses. EMS is also going to assist in getting nurses vaccinated.
  • Coordinated with providers to get them support for the Vaccine Allocation & Ordering System (VAOS) which is required to administer vaccines.
  • Coordinated with DSHS and a private company to provide mass vaccinations to Rockwall County once vaccine is readily available and approved by DSHS.
  • Attends weekly State vaccine calls.

Vaccine Enrollment Status for healthcare providers, long-term care facilities and pharmacies

The RCOEM has been active throughout the vaccine process. As early as November, the RCOEM contacted all healthcare providers in Rockwall County to encourage and assist with the process of becoming registered Covid-19 vaccine providers.  Here is the enrollment status for all healthcare providers in the county:

  • Nine healthcare providers in progress
  • Five healthcare providers pending signature
  • Six healthcare providers approved – two have received vaccine along with BSW Lake Pointe Hospital

Once a healthcare provider is approved and receives vaccines, they will appear on the COVID-19 Provider Locations map.

The RCOEM has contacted all Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF) in Rockwall County to ensure they registered to receive the vaccine through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership. Here is the 12/31/2020 LTCF enrollment status:

  • One not enrolled in a federal vaccine program
  • One not enrolled but stated their regional office has registered
  • 11 enrolled in the federal vaccine program
    • Two facilities have completed the first round of vaccinations
    • Two other facilities have scheduled vaccinations for the beginning of the year

Facilities that do not receive vaccines through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership will be assisted by Rockwall County EMS to fill the gap.

The RCOEM has contacted all pharmacies in Rockwall County to ensure they are all enrolled and approved in the Vaccine database.  Here is the 12/31/20 Pharmacy enrollment status:

  • Two pharmacies pending signatures
  • 14 pharmacies pending approval
  • Six Pharmacies approved

Once a pharmacy is approved and receives vax, they will appear on the COVID-19 Provider Locations map.

“Rockwall County and Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management has worked hard and will continue working with and encouraging local providers to sign up to be able to administer the vaccine,” said Rockwall County Judge David Sweet. “I want to remind Rockwall County citizens to go to the Rockwall County website to access the COVID Dashboard for a one stop location on all things COVID related including a link to the DSHS website which has a map identifying all places administering vaccines. The map will be updated as more locations are added.”

“Please assist Emergency Management in advocating for you during this time. Call your doctors to find out if they are planning on administering COVID-19 vaccine and get on the list,” said RCOEM Coordinator Barbara Neville.

The RCOEM provides information to the public including vaccine information through the Rockwall County COVID-19 dashboard, the Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page, the Rockwall County website, and answers all Rockwall County COVID-19 telephone calls. The RCOEM also provides COVID-19 updates including vaccine information to all the Rockwall County cities and their public safety departments on reoccurring weekly phone calls.

DSHS Commissioner Hellerstedt released this statement on vaccine administration in Texas:

“All providers that have received COVID-19 vaccine must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65, and people with medical conditions that put them at a greater risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19. No vaccine should be kept in reserve.”

This statement and corresponding information, including the link to the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map, can be found on the DSHS COVID-19 vaccine webpage here: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx

The following is directly from the dshs.texas.gov website:

Who’s getting the vaccine now?

If you are a front-line healthcare worker or resident of a long-term care facility, you are eligible now to receive the vaccine, since December 14. This group is considered Phase 1A.

If you are in Phase 1B, you are also eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, depending on availability and the vaccine provider. Vaccine supply remains limited, but more vaccine will be delivered to providers each week. Phase 1B recipients include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

If you are in Phase 1A or 1B, please visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map to see if and where you might be able to get a vaccine today. Remember, your ability to get a vaccine today or this week will depend on vaccine availability at your provider’s office, clinic, or facility. Please call ahead to your provider.

Who’s getting the vaccine next and when?

The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) is considering what criteria could be used for later stages of vaccine distribution. This webpage will be updated when those decisions are completed.

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available.

What do I need to do now?

  • Phase 1A: If you are a healthcare worker, contact your employer. If you are a long-term care resident,
    contact your caretaker.
  • Phase 1B: Please visit the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Locations map to see vaccine providers near you.
    • Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine.
    • Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability. Call if the website doesn’t answer your questions.

Remember, your ability to get a vaccine today or this week will depend on vaccine supply at hospitals, clinics. Texas receives more vaccine shipments each week. Please check this page frequently for updates.

More questions?

Visit our frequently asked questions page. (PDF)

Blue Ribbon News will continue share official updates as they become available.

Blue Ribbon News staff report. 

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