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Local heath officials asking for orderly response to vaccine requests

The crowd seeking the COVID-19 vaccine is causing some concern in Port Arthur.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Port Arthur Health Department announced staff members are only taking those persons called by appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Please do not show up to the Port Arthur Health Department for a vaccine without an appointment,” a statement read.

The crowd response follows news this week that the Port Arthur and Beaumont Health Departments are expected to receive nearly 2,000 combined doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

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.