Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine will receive a shipment of 975 COVID-19 vaccines Dec. 16 as Texas rolls out its first week of distribution mobilization.
The hospital’s Grapevine location is one of 110 hospitals across Texas to which vaccines will be allocated for front-line health care workers. A total of 49,725 vaccines will be shipped to North Texas during Week One of the allotment, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
According to Matthew Olivolo, senior marketing and public relations consultant for Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, the first vaccine shots will be administered to hospital personnel Dec. 17.
While health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccines, some hospitals will not require employees to take the vaccine: Tarrant County-based JPS Health Network announced via social media Dec. 11 that “vaccination is voluntary for JPS employees.”
Healthcare workers in phase one of the vaccine distribution working at Baylor Scott and White Health will also not be required to take the vaccine although the hospital "strongly encourages all eligible team members and physicians to receive a vaccine," said Chris York, president at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine.
DSHS estimates that North Texas, which is part of Public Health Regions 2 and 3, has 1,447,014 vulnerable adults, including nursing home residents and those over age 65 as well as front-line workers, which includes health care personnel, EMS and acute care hospital employees.
York said the facility has the appropriate equipment to store the vaccine in accordance with manufacturing guidelines.
"We are committed to getting the vaccine distributed quickly and conveniently in accordance with State and Federal guidelines and will work with civic and community leaders as appropriate," York said.
The distributed vaccine was developed by Pfizer and was given emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11. The vaccine is authorized for individuals age 16 and older.
Four sites across the state received a total of 19,500 doses Dec. 14. Another 19 sites in Texas are expected to receive 75,075 doses Dec. 15.
The allocation of vaccine doses was given to hospital facilities that indicated they will vaccinate at least 975 front-line healthcare workers, which is the minimum dose order number for the Pfizer vaccine, according to DSHS.
The first distribution of vaccines across the state comes as COVID-19 cases continue to increase ahead of the holidays. On Dec. 14, there were 1,269 new cases reported in Tarrant County, bringing the total number of cases in the county since the start of the pandemic to 120,899.
Tarrant County, which is part of Trauma Service Region E, has had a hospital capacity rate above 15% for the last seven days, which means that more than 15% of hospital beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients during that time. This led all bars to shut down and all restaurants and retail to go back down to 50% capacity.