COVID-19 vaccine demand continues to far outstrip supply in Texas

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is growing every day, and there are new efforts to get more doses to the state. Many who qualify in the first phase of the distribution said they are having a hard time getting the vaccine.

Katlyn Reed is 80 years old but can not find a COVID-19 vaccine. "I've tried calling probably close to 20 locations," said the text-book writer.

In the ongoing confusion of the vaccine rollout in Texas, seniors and their families are still finding it near impossible to snag a dose of the coveted vaccines.

"There's not enough to go around," said Harry Still, who is on the hunt for a vaccine for his mom. "It is very frustrating and I want to say it starts at the federal government and works its way down to our local community."

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Adding to the frustration is that people are seeing others who are younger or do not look like they have a medical issue post pictures of themselves getting vaccines on social media.

The reality though, is that the number one reason for not enough vaccines is the lack of supply. There are just not enough doses for everyone who wants one. According to the Texas Department of State Health Serves (DSHS), the state agency has distributed around 2.06 million doses.

However, Texas has around 1.6 million healthcare workers considered in Phase 1A. Phase 1B, which includes seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions, encompasses around 9.5 million Texans. So, even in the best-case scenario, there are currently only enough doses for one out of every five eligible Texans.

But there are signs of improvement. This week, DSHS finally pivoted from a "decentralized" model to a "hub" model.

The decentralized plan originally called for Texans to get vaccine doses from their neighborhood pharmacy or their own doctor. But, many Texans don't have a pharmacy near their home or a doctor attached to one of the large hospital systems.

SEE ALSO: When can you get the COVID-19 vaccine? Find out where you are in line

Now, the focus is large on vaccine hubs that can vaccinate thousands of people a day. In Harris County, the Harris County Public Health Department, City of Houston Public Health Department, and Methodist Hospital are the designated hubs.

"We're filled for those slots for the hub for this weekend," said Rob Phillips, the chief physician executive at Houston Methodist. "We're hoping to get more supply from the state, and we'll always be able to do another hub when that becomes available."

State officials said during a call to lawmakers on Tuesday, that it expects the incoming Biden administration to release all the vaccine doses when they take over next week. Officials say they expect available doses to increase in Texas by early February.

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