HOUSTON – With the first shipments of coronavirus vaccines arriving this month in Houston, hospitals have been able to begin vaccinating thousands of eligible recipients in Phase 1A and Phase 1B of Texas’ guidance for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Here’s a look at how Houston-area hospital systems plan to distribute the approved vaccines.
Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine is currently focused on vaccinating Phase 1A frontline health care workers, in compliance with Texas’ guidelines for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to its website, Baylor College of Medicine said it will only be a matter of days until it expands its distribution of the vaccine to high-risk patients.
Once more doses of the vaccine become available, Baylor College of Medicine will work quickly to vaccinate those eligible.
As of Dec. 30, HCA Healthcare is only administering the vaccine to frontline caregivers and staff, in accordance with state and federal prioritization guidelines, its website states.
Houston Methodist began administering the vaccine on Dec. 15.
As of Dec. 30, the hospital system has vaccinated more than 20,000 people.
According to its website, Houston Methodist will begin notifying eligible patients to schedule their vaccine in the following order:
- Patients age 75 or older.
- Patients age 65 to 74.
- Patients younger than age 65 who have at least one Class 1 condition, or at least two Class 2 conditions.
Class 1 conditions include: cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac conditions (congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy), obesity (BMI 30+), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, solid organ transplant, Type I or II diabetes mellitus
Class 2 conditions include: asthma, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive agents
MD Anderson announced plans to allocate its first shipment of vaccines for use with frontline health care workers caring for highly immune-compromised patients and those with increased risk of occupational exposure, according to its website.
In compliance with Texas’ guidance for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Memorial Hermann is prioritizing vaccine distribution to persons in Phase 1A and Phase 1B.
“Memorial Hermann is currently offering the vaccine by invitation only to established, active Memorial Hermann Medical Group patients 65 years of age and older,” its website states.
As soon as the vaccine is more widely available, Memorial Hermann plans to offer it to its patients and members of the community.
St. Luke’s Health
St. Luke’s Health facilities expect to receive more doses of the vaccine every week and are preparing to distribute them in phases as they become available.
According to its website, vaccine distribution plans are determined by the FDA, CDC, and state and local health departments.
St. Luke’s expects vaccines may be more widely available by spring or summer 2021.
University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health) System
On Dec. 30, UTMB Health announced plans to expand its employee vaccination program to high-risk individuals.
According to its website, UTMB will provide the vaccine to patients residing in the communities it serves once priority groups defined by state and federal authorities have been vaccinated.