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State approves mass vaccination hub in Southeast Texas

The Beaumont Civic Center will likely serve as the vaccination site for the region.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Residents across Southeast Texas will soon be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in the area.

The state approved a mass vaccination hub for the five-county region in a Tuesday afternoon meeting, Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel tells 12News.

Over the last several days, county leaders have been waiting to hear if the state would approve their plans to form a regional vaccination hub. And Tuesday, they got the answer that there were hoping for.

In a call with the Department of Human Health Services, county leaders were told that their proposal was approved. Mcdaniel says nearly 11,000 doses could arrive as early as Tuesday.

"This 11,000 doses a week is really going to step up our game on vaccinating people, but when you talk about a population of half a million or so people — 11,000 doses a week is going to take a while to get everybody vaccinated," Mcdaniel said.

Although a location has not been confirmed, Southeast Texas officials have already set up a place to host the mass vaccination hub, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames told 12News. 

 Mcdaniel says they are planning to have multiple hubs set up in the five county region. Hosting sites will include places like The Beaumont Civic Center  and the Fine Arts Center in Lumberton. Other locations are still being finalized at this time. 

The Beaumont mayor said the city will use a phone hotline for residents to use to register for the vaccines.

Once the coronavirus vaccine is  shipped from the state to Jefferson county, they are likely to be stored at Lamar university before being distributed across the region. They have the ability to store nearly 16,000 doses, according Judge Jeff Branick. 

"This is just another way that we can help the community because we have 12,000 cardinals alumni living in this area and we know that the next generation of Lamar cardinals are going to come from this area and so we wanna do everything we can to be supportive," says Lamar University spokesperson Shelly Vitanza.

MORE | Sign up for the vaccine at the SETX Regional Ops Center

MORE | City of Beaumont uses 311 call center to help with COVID-19 vaccine waitlist registration

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RELATED: How to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in Southeast Texas

Here's some more information from the Texas Department of State Health Services....

Texas continues to receive doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and is distributing statewide to hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, freestanding ERs and other clinics.

Who can get the vaccine now?

Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID‑19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID‑19 vaccine.

Phase 1B recipients include:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
    • Solid organ transplantation
    • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

If I’m eligible for vaccine now, how do I get one?

The week of January 11, Texas will direct most COVID-19 vaccines received to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.

  • The goal of this plan is to provide more people the vaccine and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment.
  • Providers will focus on vaccinating areas and populations hardest hit by COVID-19.

If you are in Phase 1 and eligible to receive the vaccine, please check the COVID‑19 Vaccination Hub Providers page to find a hub near you and learn how to register.

Alternately, you can also check the websites of vaccine providers listed on the Texas COVID‑19 Vaccine Availability map to see if they have enough vaccine supply at this time.

Remember:

  • Do not show up at a hospital or clinic looking for vaccine.
  • Instead please check their website for information about vaccine availability.
  • Call only if the website doesn’t answer your questions.

Vaccine hubs aim to provide more vaccines quicker and easier. Texas vaccine supply is limited (but more arrives every week) and it will take time to vaccinate all.

After Phase 1, who gets the vaccine next and when?

Spring 2021 is the best estimate of when vaccine will be available for the general public, but that may change. It depends on vaccine production and how quickly other vaccines become available. The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) is considering what criteria could be used for later stages of vaccine distribution. This webpage will be updated when those decisions are completed.

MORE | Texas DSHS FAQ page

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