COVID-19 ‘vaccination hubs’ coming to Texas next week as officials plead for better distribution

The hubs may better streamline the state's distribution process, which has been labeled confusing and inequitable. (Courtesy Ascension Seton)
The hubs may better streamline the state's distribution process, which has been labeled confusing and inequitable. (Courtesy Ascension Seton)

The hubs may better streamline the state's distribution process, which has been labeled confusing and inequitable. (Courtesy Ascension Seton)

Large-scale “vaccination hubs” are expected to materialize in Texas next week as the state is gearing up to receive an additional 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to a Jan. 7 news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The announcement comes on the heels of various elected officials across the state calling for a more streamlined and equitable distribution process.

Texas will be directing most of its vaccines received from the federal government next week to large providers that can vaccinate at least 100,000 people in total, according to the DSHS. The list of providers is expected to be published later this week once vaccine allocations are finalized.

Additional vaccines will be distributed to smaller providers in other parts of the state.

“These vaccination hubs will provide people in those priority populations with identifiable sites where vaccination is occurring and a simpler way to sign-up for an appointment with each provider,” the statement read.

Health care workers, people age 65 and older, and those with high-risk medical conditions will be able to use the hubs. The providers are expected to provide a registration number and website, as well as focusing on areas and populations hit hardest by COVID-19 while vaccinating individuals from surrounding areas, according to the DSHS.


Next week is also the last week the state is required to reserve doses for residents and staff of long-term care facilities, according to the DSHS.

Limited supply

The vaccine hubs are intended to provide easily identifiable sites and a simpler way to register for vaccinations, according to the DSHS. The state’s current distribution process has been labeled convoluted, uncoordinated and inequitable by officials across the state.

For instance, although Texas has extended distribution to individuals in Phase 1B—those age 65 and older and those with high-risk medical conditions—Austin Public Health representatives said Jan. 5 their region has not had enough doses to cover all of their health care workers, which are classified as Phase 1A.

“Constituents have been contacting me saying, ‘What is going on? Why is it such a mess? Why can’t we get these vaccines?’” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said.

Six Black elected officials within Travis County have expressed concerns over the handling of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the Greater Austin region, highlighting racial and regional inequities with the vaccine's distribution. And on Jan. 6, 38 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives penned a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, calling for better information about how vaccine prioritization and distribution decisions are being made.

According to the available state data, 1.36 million doses have been shipped in Texas as of Jan. 7, with 541,512 administered. But Harris County commissioners warned that state data is outdated and unreliable—which may lead to vulnerable populations slipping through the cracks.

“The data is so far off, it's not even worth analyzing or publishing," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a Jan. 5 meeting.

However, supply is expected to ramp up in the coming months, and when vaccines hit widespread availability, the supply may even exceed demand, according to the DSHS.

Olivia Aldridge, Kelsey Thompson, Amy Rae Dadamo and Shawn Arrajj contributed to this report.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

The proposed project involves reconstruction and widening of Sgt. Ed Holcombe Boulevard South and Old Conroe Road to a four-lane, divided facility. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Virtual public meeting on Old Conroe Road, Sgt. Ed Holcombe Blvd. S. project to be held April 20

The meeting will consist of a narrated presentation by the project team, project exhibits and an opportunity to comment.

Armored Sports camps feature basketball, flag football and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
Armored Sports camps to launch in venues across Greater Houston

A new Christian sports camp for youth is launching this summer in churches across the Greater Houston area.

Montgomery County's active COVID-19 case count was 1,692 as of April 9. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County active COVID-19 case count drops below 1,700 as of April 9

The active COVID-19 case count in Montgomery County is the lowest it has been since October.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Mental health services have seen an increased demand through 2020 and early 2021. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare director speaks on increased demands from pandemic

Evan Roberson spoke on the demand for mental health services as well as what his organization has seen over the past year.

A groundbreaking was held this week for the new Willis Surgery Center, which is expected to open in spring 2022. (Courtesy HCA Healthcare)
New ambulatory surgery center breaks ground in Willis

The center is expected to open in spring 2022.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Faith-based series filmed in Montgomery County hopes for spot on Netflix, Hulu

The show, "Breaking Strongholds," explores topics such as suicide, depression and broken families.

After serving up chicken in College Station for nearly three decades, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening its first location in the Houston area in Katy. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers coming to Katy; Gyro King opens in Sugar Land and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Less than 25% of American office workers have returned to in-person office settings since the start of the pandemic. (Courtesy Pixabay)
DATA: Texas metros lead the nation in return to in-person work since start of pandemic

About 37% of Houston office employees had returned to in-person work as of the end of March, as compared to an average of less than 25% in other major U.S. metros.

A third flyover road at I-45 and Hwy. 242 is now being developed, Montgomery County Precinct 2 announced April 6. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Eastbound, nontolled flyover road from I-45 to eastbound Hwy. 242 enters preconstruction phase

Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said planning work on the new flyover road and a drainage project to the south has begun.

Montgomery County was allocated 15,210 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the week of April 5. (Lauren Canterberry/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: Montgomery County receives over 34,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses for the week of April 5

The county will receive 15,120 first doses and 19,340 second doses of the vaccine for this week's allocation.