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Port Arthur, Beaumont health departments receiving close to 2,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses

The Port Arthur and Beaumont Health Departments are expected to receive nearly 2,000 combined doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by today (Jan. 20).

County Judge Jeff Branick told Port Arthur Newsmedia that 1,950 doses total are arriving this week with the bulk directed to Beaumont and Port Arthur health departments.

Those interested in receiving the vaccine are asked to contact the health departments.

“We hope to get more doses in coming weeks with alternative sign up sites,” Branick said.

According to Branick, there were 371 new cases and 3 deaths reported through the long weekend in Jefferson County related to COVID-19. Total number of cases have surpassed 14,000 in Jefferson County, with more than 8,000 in Beaumont and 6,000-plus in Mid-County.

Hospitalizations, ICU and ventilator utilization remain at high levels, Branick said.

Branick’s Tuesday update followed news shared Saturday by the Texas Department of State Health Services instructing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship doses to 260 providers across Texas.

Jefferson County is listed as a hub for the first time this week in relation to the order.

That includes 79 hub providers that will focus on large community vaccination efforts and 181 additional providers as Texas vaccinates health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people 65 and older and those with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

In addition to the first doses mentioned above, state officials said they are ordering approximately 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago.

Vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it, so it will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for all the people in the priority populations who want to be vaccinated.

The supply is expected to increase in the coming months, and additional vaccines are in clinical trials and may be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

The City of Port Arthur Health Department said its plan is to continue to immunize health care workers and first responders first, then proceed to immunize some of the people who are in Phase 1B, which are those 65 and older with underlying health conditions.

“The list is very long, and we know that everyone will not be able to receive vaccines this round, but we are expecting to be able to immunize all citizens who desire to be immunized as more vaccines are made available,” health department officials said Monday morning.

“We ask for your patience. If you have not already placed your name on the health department’s wait list and want to be included for vaccine administration, due to the overwhelming number of calls, we are now providing a link for you to register online.”

Those who have already given a name to the health department do not need to register again online.

Those who have not registered and want to can log onto cityhall.portarthurtx.gov:444/forms/covid.

Officials said the COVID vaccine is a federal program, and the Port Arthur Health Department services residents in Port Arthur and Mid-County, so the registration extends beyond Port Arthur.

So far, more than 1.7 million vaccine doses have been delivered to providers across Texas. Texas has administered over 1.3 million doses that have been successfully reported into ImmTrac2, the state’s immunization registry.

Texas has also provided 487,500 doses for nursing homes and long term care (LTC) facilities, which are administered by CVS and Walgreens. The State has also established additional vaccine hub locations, bringing the total number to 77.

This week, Texas is slated to receive its largest supply of vaccines totaling 843,000. Of those doses, 333,650 are first doses and 509,400 are second doses.