EL PASO, Texas-- The state of Texas has announced it will begin to ask the federal government only for doses that providers have ordered, rather than trying to get as many doses as possible. El Paso County on Monday announced that it would not be getting an additional allocation of the Covid-19 vaccine this week.
"For this week UMC did not request an allocation so that we can continue to administer the vaccines that we still have available. Our clinics also did not receive an allocation for that same reason," said University Medical Center's Ruben Vogt.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, has long been an advocate for the vaccine. He has told ABC-7 in the past he would like to share the surplus doses El Paso has with Ciudad Juarez. The issue right now is that El Paso has not reached that herd immunity benchmark of 70% vaccination rate, and instead it is hovering at 43%. Samaniego says there needs to be a balance between receiving allocations and not have any sit on the shelves.
“Our concern obviously is that we don’t get what we need because we are not utilizing them. It's not an easy balance of thinking we have it, but then is it going to be available if we start having more of the community wanting the vaccine,” Samaniego explained.
While UMC will not be receiving additional doses for the general public, the county will be administering vaccines to the under-served community - including the local prison population.
"We have been notified that we have been transferred about 1,000 Johnson & Johnson early this week from the DSHS (Dept. of State Health Services) pharmacy from Austin for use in our jails and our clinic team in the jail is working with the Sheriff's Office," Vogt said.
UMC is also continuing their vaccination campaign through their walk-up site at the County Coliseum. The number of individuals that have gotten a vaccine on a walk-up basis has proven to be effective. As many as 354 residents received their vaccine from the county on a walk up basis in just one day last week.
The county has made a transition from the Coliseum to the Pavilion next door, as demand for the vaccine has decreased.
"It's the same location, just right next door to the Coliseum to accommodate for Disney on Ice, individuals with an appointment or those wanting to walk up will go to the same location," Vogt said.
El Paso County is still taking appointment for the Pfizer vaccine and accepting walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Those desiring more information can call 915-975-8901.