By Public Radio Staff
While supplies of the coronavirus vaccine are still limited, the rollout is unfolding at locations throughout West Texas. Some hospitals across the region are beginning to receive thousands of vaccine doses weekly and smaller facilities, like clinics, have also received doses, although in smaller numbers.
To keep you updated on where to get vaccinated and who is currently eligible for a vaccine Marfa Public Radio has put together this guide.
Who Is Eligible?
Texas, like the country as a whole, is following a tier-based system in which different groups become eligible for the vaccine at different times. For more information on the state’s vaccine rollout plan, click here.
Currently, several providers in the region are administering shots to people in groups 1A, 1B and 1C.
Next week, Texans can expect eligibility to expand to “all adults.” On March 29, the state says anyone 16 years and older in Texas is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Before that time, here are the current eligible groups:
- Healthcare and frontline workers such as:
- Respiratory Therapists
- Emergency Medical Service Providers
- Last Responders (Funeral Home Workers, Medical Examiners, Etc…)
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who are 65 and older.
- Individuals over the age of 16 who have an underlying condition such as:
- Solid Organ Transplant
- Heart disease
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- People 50 to 64 years of age.
As of Wednesday, March 3, the state says education and child care personnel are now eligible to be vaccinated in Texas.
Here’s who that includes:
- Those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools.
- Those working in early education programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers).
- Those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.
- Midland Memorial Hospital Vaccination Expansion: Officials at Midland Memorial have recently expanded who can get a vaccine to include certain underlying conditions and select individuals it considers essential workers. This updated list includes individuals who work in energy, law, media, construction, home caregivers as well as those working in public health. The hospital will now administer vaccines to individuals with asthma, high blood pressure and heart conditions.
For a full list of who can apply for a COVID-19 vaccine at Midland Memorial click here.
- Midland Memorial Hospital Volunteers: Midland Memorial Hospital is offering COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who volunteers to help run their mass vaccination clinics. This applies to all volunteers, even those who do not fall into the 1A and 1B vaccination groups specified by the state.
To sign up to volunteer and schedule your volunteer shift, click here.
The state has not yet released details on who will be included in the next group to become eligible. Marfa Public Radio will update this page once that information becomes available.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated?
Apart from the major healthcare facilities listed below, several, smaller medical providers in West Texas are currently authorized to administer vaccines. To see which locations are registered as providers with the state, click here. (Note: this page, run by the Department of State Health Services may not fully reflect current registered providers.)
If you are currently eligible (in group 1A or 1B), here are the major vaccine distributors in the Permian Basin and Big Bend region:
- Medical Center Hospital in Odessa (open to all Permian and Big Bend residents)
- Odessa Regional Medical Center in Odessa (open to walk-ins at ORMC’s Community Health Center, check their website for vaccine availability)
- Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland (open to all Permian and Big Bend residents)
- VA Medical Center in Big Spring (open to all veterans currently enrolled in VA healthcare, following CDC guidelines on prioritizing at-risk groups while supplies are limited)
- Pecos Valley Rural Health Clinic in Pecos. (open to all Permian and Big Bend residents, call 432-447-7920 for more information).
Got Your First Vaccine At A Mass Vaccination Clinic in Midland Or Odessa? Here’s Where To Get Your Second.
- Medical Center Hospital: As of Feb. 18 all appointments to receive the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Medical Center Hospital clinics have been canceled. The hospital will hold a mass drive-thru clinic to administer second doses from Mar. 2 to Mar. 5 that will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- After Medical Center‘s vaccination site at Ratliff Stadium closes on March 5, the hospital will administer all first doses at individual clinics. Second shots will be administered at Odessa Regional Medical Center.
- Midland Memorial Hospital: Appointments for an individual’s second dose of the vaccine will be scheduled alongside their appointment for their first dose or following their first shot.
For more information about the vaccine rollout in the Midland-Odessa area, click here.
Big Bend Region
- Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine (open to qualifying residents in the Big Bend region, call 432-837-0430 to be placed on a waiting list).
- Preventative Care Health Services clinics in Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio (starting with existing patients)
- The Department of State Health Services clinic in Marfa
- The Prescription Shop in Alpine: Open to residents in qualifying vaccination groups. To schedule an appointment and be placed on a waiting list call 432-837-3498.
So far all vaccine providers in the Big Bend area have limited access to vaccine doses and are waiting for more from the state.
I’m Not Yet Eligible, Is There Anything I Can Do Now?
While the state hasn’t outlined the next vaccination groups after 1A and 1B, there are things residents can do right now. Medical Center Hospital is encouraging residents 16 years or older throughout the Permian and Big Bend region to pre-register for the vaccine, regardless of eligibility. Doing this, doesn’t put you on a waitlist for the vaccine, but it will make registering easier once doses become more widely available.
It recently expanded its vaccination effort to some other groups, to see if you qualify for a vaccine click here.