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Highland Lakes gets fewer vaccines this week; upcoming clinic in Kingsland

COVID-19 vaccine

During the weekly COVID-19 vaccine update March 11, Imelda Garcia of the Texas Department of State Health Services anticipated the federal allotment to the state would decrease the following week, and it has.

The state is getting roughly 800,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines the week of March 15, a dip from the previous week of more than 1 million. Still, Garcia pointed out, this will be the third-highest number of doses to the state since the vaccine rollout began in December.

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Marble Falls will receive its usual allotment of 1,170 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while Ascension Seton Highland Lakes in Burnet is getting 500 first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Lone Star Circle of Care in Marble Falls will get 100 first doses of Moderna. 

Three Llano County providers — Horseshoe Bay Pharmacy, Corner Health Mart, and Hill Country Direct Care — will each receive 100 first doses of Moderna. 

Along with first-round doses, the state is ordering almost 600,000 second doses.

Garcia, who is the associate commissioner for the state’s Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services and a chair on the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel, said the missing link this week is the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine.

The federal government disbursed all available Johnson & Johnson vaccines last week. Garcia said she expects more in late March or early April. Johnson & Johnson is getting a manufacturing boost from Merck, another pharmaceutical giant. 

Garcia also pointed out that more people in Texas are now eligible to be vaccinated with the addition of those ages 50 to 64 as of Monday, March 15. This age group accounts for about 20 percent of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state. Combined with Texans age 65 and older, the two groups make up about 93 percent of statewide COVID-19 deaths since March 2020.

Garcia said state providers have made tremendous inroads in vaccinating those 65 and older, deemed the most at risk from the disease. More than half in that age group have received one dose, she said, while about a third are now fully vaccinated. 

As of March 11, vaccine providers statewide have administered roughly 7.6 million doses, an increase of about 1.4 million from the week before. About 1 in 8 of all Texans age 16 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Currently, those eligible to be vaccinated in Texas are medical personnel, first responders, ages 50 and older, ages 16 and older with serious medical conditions, and school and childcare staff.

With three COVID-19 vaccines are approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, health officials are urging Texans to take the first one available to them.

Getting a vaccination appointment or being put on a waiting list often depends on the provider. Baylor Scott & White Health has its own registration portal, while Ascension Seton Highland Lakes has partnered with Burnet County and the city of Burnet on an online registration system. People can also call the Burnet Fire Department at 512-756-2662 for assistance or more information.

In Llano County, vaccine providers and the county Emergency Management Department have created an online registration form. According to county officials, the Texas Department of Emergency Management will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Kingsland on March 25. It is currently only for residents age 65 and older. Those on the Llano County waitlist will be sent invitations to the clinic. The state and county are also reaching out to shut-in or bed-bound residents. 

If you or someone you know in Llano County is 65 and older or a shut-in, call 325-216-9642 by March 22 for help in scheduling a vaccination appointment.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story had an incorrect number to call for Llano County bed-bound and shut-in residents. It has been corrected. DailyTrib.com apologizes for the error.

daniel@thepicayune.com