The Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Texas has gone pretty well, all things considered. Could it go better? Of course – and it will continue to improve. But you want to know the reason it has gone so well, so far? Private businesses and hospitals have been 100% in charge of distributing their own vaccine lots.
“States have discretion in setting their own vaccination priorities.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/covid-vaccine-states-distribution-doses/
This sentence from the Washington Post naturally creates an illusion that states are in control of vaccine distribution. That is absolutely not the case. At least, not for Texas. While states have discretion in setting their own vaccination policies, this statement from the Washington Post naturally leads one to believe that the Texas state health authorities are in charge of delivering vaccines to the populace. That’s not how it works.
Private Hospitals and Pharmacies Determine Who Get The Vaccine
Here’s what actually happens. First, the vaccines must be delivered directly to a pharmacy. Since The State isn’t a pharmacy, The State actually receives zero vaccines. The vaccine manufacturers ship their vaccine lots directly to a hospital-pharmacy or free-standing pharmacy. Those are private businesses. And they get to determine how they administer their vaccine supply based on their own protocols. They may or may not follow the state guidelines. These private businesses aren’t legally required to follow the state guidelines in the administration of the vaccine.
WHICH CAN BE A GOOD THING! Look at what Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance was able to do with their excess vaccine supply after so many of their employees declined the vaccine:
DHR Health didn’t want to waste the vaccine doses. After the first day of distribution, the hospital started to go “down the rung … down the ladder a little bit,” Martinez said. Hospital employees called health care workers at other medical institutions — like hospitals, nursing homes, behavioral health facilities and anyone with workers on the front lines of COVID-19 — in neighboring cities and counties in the Valley.BY VIANNA DAVILA, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE AND PROPUBLICA, AND KAREN BROOKS HARPER, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE UPDATED: DEC. 21, 2020 https://www.texastribune.org/2020/12/20/texas-coronavirus-vaccine-rio-grande-valley/
State Receives Reports; Does Not Administer Vaccines
The hospitals and pharmacies report vaccination data back to the The State. SO…the State finds out, after-the-fact, which hospitals/pharmacies received how much of which vaccine(s) and basic demographic data on who was vaccinated. (Ex: 4,500 vaccines were administered to Tier A-1 patients…or whatever.) The hospitals/pharmacies do not send rosters to the state with people’s private personal info (No The State doesn’t know that Johnny B on 123 Main Street in Anytown, TX received a vaccine. That info is available, but it’s not being provided to The State for distribution tracking.)
Just in case you’re wondering how it actually works.