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Health administrator updates status of vaccine

Brownwood Bulletin
In a photo released Dec. 23, registered nurse Christy Storey administers the first COVID 19 vaccine to Dr. David Morales, MD at Hendrick Medical Center Brownwood.

Brownwood/Brown County Health Administrator Lisa Dick said she's hopeful that COVID vaccine doses designated for the second tier of individuals will arrive in Brown County the week of Jan. 10-16.

The state health department has said those in the second tier, known as 1B — people who are 65 years of age and older, or people who are 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 — are now eligible for the vaccine.

The CDC allocates the vaccine to each state, and the state allocates to local areas, Dick said.

Last week, the Brownwood hospital received about 600 doses designated for “first tier” individuals, which includes front-line health care workers and first responders.

“The hospital did receive those first rounds of vaccine that came to Brown County,” Dick said in a phone interview Thursday. “All of those doses were expended to the first tier. Now we’re  waiting on additional vaccine.”

Brown County was not on the list of allocations for the week of Jan. 3-9 for the second tier, Dick said. But she hopes the allocations for the week of Jan. 10-16 will include Brown County when the state announces those allocations.

“So we’re just waiting for the next group of allocations to come down, and we should hopefully be listed on those,” Dick said. “It’s not that there is no activity in our community as vaccines go. There are some other activities where nursing facilities may have contracts with larger pharmacies, or with pharmaceutical groups that provide services to those types of facilities. So they may be getting vaccines behind the scenes."

Dick said it’s her understanding that every nursing home in Texas is anticipated to have the vaccine available within the next couple of weeks.

She did not know how many doses Brown County will receive if the county makes the allocation list for the week of Jan. 10-16.

“As we find out how many there are and where that group of vaccines is going to go to, then we will announce that information so that we can connect the people that want the vaccine, with the (providers) who have the vaccine,” Dick said.

She said it is not yet known which providers will receive the vaccine.

“That will be determined by where the state allocates those vaccines,” Dick said. “It could be to pharmacies, it could be here to the health department, it could be to private physicians who have signed up to be providers. It could be a combination of those. It could go to the hospital again.” 

Dick said the health department has been getting calls from individuals asking to be put on a list to receive the vaccine, but a list is not being created, Dick said.

“We’re not making lists right now,” Dick said. “As we know when we’re going to get a vaccine, we may put out a call that requests people to make an appointment. We have been just overwhelmed by phone calls to get on a list. 

Later Thursday afternoon, the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department received 71 positive COVID test results, 118 negative, and 70 recoveries. There were 17 hospitalized in Brown County.