UTMB Health in Galveston to resume COVID-19 vaccinations this week

Charly Edsitty Image
Monday, January 18, 2021
Galveston Co. updates vaccine rollout after recent cancellations
"We want to make sure that people we already promised the vaccine (to), that they get the vaccine," Dr. Philip Keiser with UTMB Galveston and Galveston County Health Authority said.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- UTMB Health in Galveston, one of the hubs designated in Texas to help vaccinate a lot of people at once, is set to receive more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week.

The hospital said it will receive 4,000 doses and will distribute them to those considered to be at high-risk who had appointments canceled due to lack of supply.

UTMB Health announced on Monday, Jan. 11 that they had to cancel 6,000 first dose appointments. People with appointments for a second dose are still scheduled to get them, the hospital said.

"We want to make sure that people we already promised the vaccine (to), that they get the vaccine," Dr. Philip Keiser with UTMB Galveston and Galveston County Health Authority said.

According to officials, UTMB Health ran out of vaccines for first doses by Wednesday, Jan. 13 and didn't receive another shipment at the beginning of the week.

READ MORE: Appointments canceled as southeast Texas counties wait on vaccine supply

The 4,000-vaccine shipment the hospital is receiving this week was allotted to them before they were designated as a hub.

"We've been asked to be able to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day, and I think we're at that capacity right now," Keiser said. "Now with the doses that we are going to be getting this week, we'll probably go through those in three or four days. The second thing is that we've also been told to expect to be able to vaccinate up to 5,000 people per site, per day, and that is going to take some time to get to that capacity, but we think we can do it."

After being forced to cancel 6,000 first dose appointments last week, UTMB said they'll receive another shipment this week.

Both UTMB and Galveston County made a request to the state health department that there be a vaccination hub in the Galveston County area so people don't have to drive all the way up to Houston to get their shot.

Dr. Keiser said hubs can potentially pull resources from other areas, which means rural communities could be impacted. But eventually, hubs will be located in other areas to increase access across the state and our communities.

He also said another factor that could help speed up the vaccine rollout is the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, which, if approved, would be the third vaccine in circulation, possibly as early as mid-February.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Abbott reassures Texans more COVID-19 vaccines are coming

For now, the hospital will directly reach out to people who had their first dose appointments cancelled last week.

"While we currently do not have a supply of vaccine to begin mass vaccination efforts, we are looking forward to working with partners in the region we serve to bring COVID-19 vaccines to our patients and our community when supplies are available," UTMB Health said in a statement.

UTMB Health has been offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which, according to a recent study, can protect against a mutation found in the two more-contagious variants of the coronavirus.

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