Hundreds of doses of COVID-19 vaccines were available in El Campo this week and more are planned for distribution Monday in Bay City, one of the sites that Wharton County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) officials have urged residents to visit for vaccinations.
According to the Matagorda Regional Medical Center (MRMC), more than 1,100 doses will be given for free during a public COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Texans age 16 or older, though persons 80 and older will be prioritized. The doses include Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.
The vaccinations are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, March 29 and noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds, 4511 FM 2668, in Bay City.
Pre-filled registration paperwork can be downloaded at www.at matagordaregional.org/covid19.
This week, the Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS) said it will take time for most Texans to get their vaccines, and more doses are being distributed each week across the state. Whether you’ve had your doses or not, wearing a mask is recommended, including washing your hands often and keeping six feet distance from others.
“As we monitor COVID-19 variants, Texans should keep up the good work they’ve been doing to slow the spread,” according to a DSHS press release.
The Texas National Guard continues to work with Wharton County on vaccination distributions, even if there is little planning sometimes, OEM Coordinator Andy Kirkland said.
“We have not been given any warning, and sometimes been given two days to coordinate when we are told by the guard we have 500 doses coming, and in the middle of the 500, we get another 500 doses,” Kirkland said. “I know there have been times when the organization wasn’t quite there, and it could happen again, but it’s important to have as many people vaccinated as possible.”
Wharton County health officials will wait to see what effects the vaccinations will have later this spring.
“We’re going to watch and see very carefully what Spring Break brings and the Easter holiday as far as COVID-19 numbers,” Kirkland said. “By the time we get to the last week in April, we will get a good handle on what difference the vaccines are making.”
In El Campo, nearly 1,500 COVID-19 doses were distributed at the El Campo Civic Center Thursday.
There were 1,170 doses of Pfizer and 300 doses of Moderna administered by hospital personnel, Mid Coast Health System spokesperson Donna Mikeska said.
According to the OEM, vaccines are available to residents 50 and over, and people over the age of 18 who have underlying medical conditions including cancer, down syndrome, pregnancy, diabetes, liver disease, neurological conditions (including dementia), COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including asthma), obesity, heart conditions and other major illnesses. Health care workers, residents at long-term care facilities, along with school employees or licensed child care personnel also receive priority, according to the OEM.
In Wharton earlier this month, there were 961 COVID-19 vaccinations administered during a two-day distribution event at the Wharton Civic Center, Wharton OEM Coordinator Steve Johnson said. There were 261 vaccinations given the first day, and 700 the second day.