UTMB Health in Galveston forced to stop vaccinations due to lack of doses, officials say

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- UTMB Health in Galveston has been forced to cancel COVID-19 vaccination appointments due to a lack of doses, the hospital system announced on Monday.

According to officials, UTMB Health will be out of vaccines for first doses by Wednesday, Jan. 13.

"It is true that UTMB will not receive a vaccine shipment this week," read a statement issued by the hospital Monday evening. "As previously stated, UTMB does not control the supplies and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. People who are scheduled to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to do so through Tuesday [Jan. 12]. After that, we, unfortunately, will have to postpone previously scheduled first shots."

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"Never before in the history of this state has Texas vaccinated so many people so quickly," Gov. Greg Abbott declared. Listen to the governor explain the changes the state is making to increase the COVID-19 vaccination process.

Second doses will be administered as scheduled.

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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UTMB Health's announcement came shortly after Galveston County's local health authority, Dr. Philip Keiser, who is also an infectious disease doctor, spoke out about the state's ability to get the vaccine to medical facilities.

"I don't know what's going on. I don't know what's going on in the state," said Keiser.

According to Keiser, early on in the rollout process, officials from UTMB Health were supplied with a large dose of vaccines to ensure all health care workers could be vaccinated. Keiser said less than expected actually moved forward with the vaccination, so they opened it up to the community.

"The governor told us to do that too. Since the New Year, we've actually vaccinated more [people] from the community than health care workers," Keiser said.

According to health officials, all appointments set for Wednesday will have to be canceled.

The Galveston County Health District recently stopped offering its doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine because its 400-dose allotment had already been given to patients. Keiser said UTMB Health was able to give as many as 1,000 vaccinations a day and by next week, it would have been able to ramp up their vaccinations to 2,000 doses a day.

UTMB Health said staff will resume scheduling new appointments as soon as it receives enough vaccines for first doses. It's unclear how many patients are impacted.

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