Fort Bend Co.'s COVID-19 vaccine issues mirror those across US

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- As Fort Bend County leaders gathered Thursday to talk about a public distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine, frustration mounted over a common issue across the country: supply and demand.

"The challenge is not having enough vaccine available," County Judge KP George said. "Unfortunately, the state, and also the federal government, is in charge of that distribution, but hopefully, things will get better."

George said 5,850 doses of the vaccine are on the way to Fort Bend County. The doses will be split into two shipments, with the first shipment arriving as soon as today. It's unclear how many shots will be in that first shipment. Health officials don't yet know if they'll receive Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or a combination of the two. There are freezers ready to store both types.

The vaccines are already spoken for, as more than 5,800 people pre-registered to receive vaccinations once they're available. The online registry is closed right now. According to the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services website, "registration will re-open once a significant number of registrants are vaccinated or FBHHS receives a larger allotment of the vaccine."

"There's definitely frustration," said Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, Fort Bend County's Director of Health and Human Services. "Now we're coming to the end. It may be a very long end. We're so excited to be able to be in the vaccination process that will get us closer to the end."

The state has designated Fort Bend County as a vaccine hub, officials said. That means they could get a large amount of doses.

Officials said they're working to identify three to four hub locations where vaccines can be administered, including the possibility of using the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds.

The county had more than 41,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday and an estimated 31,800 had recovered. So far, 1,198 people in Fort Bend County have gotten the COVID-19 shot, according to its health and human services website, most of them being frontline medical workers. With more than 811,000 people living in Fort Bend County, George recognizes people are discouraged.

"We have requested that more vaccine be made available to our citizens," George said. "We are working very closely with the concerned authorities, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it is distributed in an orderly manner."

The local distribution of the vaccine began with Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land being the first to receive a Pfizer vaccine shipment in the area. Additional hospitals and local pharmacies received shipments from both Pfizer and Moderna the following week.

George said the county has requested "hundreds of thousands" of vaccines, but the actual allocation remains up to the state.

Resources to additional COVID-19 vaccine providers in Fort Bend County and all across Texas are listed here.

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