Southeast Texas officials gathered in Jefferson County Jan. 25 to announce their preparedness to vaccinate up to 11,000 residents a week, but admitted uncertainty in the timeline of beginning such an endeavor due to a nationwide demand surpassing its supply.
“We felt the best way for us to have the best opportunity to get allocations was for us to band together and submit a plan to the state,” said Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick. “We are hopeful that Johnson & Johnson will receive the emergency use authorization soon and that new vaccine supply will arrive on the scene.”
The county coalition has requested 22,000 doses of the vaccine from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), according to Branick, who later said Jefferson County today received its Week 7 allocation earlier than expected. The county received 1,950 doses – the same amount sent last week.
In an effort to register, and eventually schedule, residents for vaccination, the county coalition has a new website to visit and a phone number to call. Southeast Texas residents who fall under Phase 1A and 1B can visit vaccine.beaumonttexas.gov to register. Additionally, qualified residents can call (409) 550-2536 to register by phone. Those who are ineligible, those under 65 with no health conditions, will be turned away, according to Branick.
“Be patient as you attempt to access the phone line,” Branick said before urging residents who receive a busy tone to call back until they’re able to connect with someone. Eligible residents can expect to be registered as soon as today, but scheduling will take place once doses arrive.
“I see people all over town close together, shopping without a mask on,” said Mayor Beck Ames. “Please continue to wear your mask, please social distance, please continue to follow CDC guidelines. We have a lot of individuals within our public health departments, with our elected officials and with our emergency management team who are working to ensure that we receive our fair share of vaccines.
“We will try anything, even setting up a building to say we’re ready. I just hope it works out.”