Texas medical experts share recommendations to help improve COVID-19 distribution, access in Texas

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during preparations at the Vaccine Village in Antwerp, Belgium. At least a dozen countries including Germany, France, Italy and Spain have now temporarily suspended their use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine after reports last week that some people in Denmark and Norway who got a dose developed blood clots, even though there's no evidence that the shot was responsible. The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization say the data available don't suggest the vaccine caused the clots and that people should continue to be immunized. Here's a look at what we know and what we don't.(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File) (Virginia Mayo, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – A group of Texas medical experts presented recommendations aimed at helping the state enhance the distribution and access to the coronavirus vaccine.

The Immunization Partnership is a non-profit organization with a “mission to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases by educating the community, advocating for evidence-based public policy, and supporting immunization best practices.”

According to the group, there are four major factors that will help improve the state’s vaccination effort: support to COVID-19 vaccine providers; health equity; COVID-19 impact on high-risk Texans; and transparency in vaccine allocation and distribution.

“While we appreciate the state’s efforts to overcome the challenges to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all Texans in an efficient and orderly manner, we believe the implementation of these recommendations from the Pandemic Vaccine Task Force will complement the on-going efforts, and serve to improve the health and safety of all Texans after our emergence from this pandemic,” said Allison Winnike, president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership.

The group also said the state’s immunization registry, ImmTrac2, could also use improvement.

“A more functional state immunization registry with interoperable data transfer systems that work with existing data collection tools will reduce administrative burden, and allow providers to focus on vaccinating Texans against COVID-19,” the group said in a news release.

ImmTrac2 is the best tool for achieving herd immunity, according to the group. The state could work to identify people and communities that do not have access to the vaccine using this tool, and that would open doors for more people to get immunized, according to the group.

“The diversity of Texas requires various methods in reaching underserved communities, higher-risk communities, non-English speakers, and Texans with low reading capability,” Winnike said. “Command of the English language should never be prohibitive to healthcare.”

The group also recommends that the state use more varied methods of communication including telephone outreach, community newsletters, bulletins at places of worship, signage at local businesses, or the local emergency message system.

“If we expect to get through this extraordinary time, the state must undertake extraordinary measures on behalf of all Texans,” Winnike said.

Watch the full news conference below:


Posted by The Immunization Partnership on Wednesday, March 17, 2021

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.