The COVID-19 vaccine entered Texas on December 14th, and Phase 1A recipients have been steadily receiving vaccine access.
Although Texas EMS Professionals are listed in 1A, many EMS professionals feel uninformed and excluded from the distribution process.
This article examines five things Texas EMS professionals should know regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution and how to gain vaccine access.
- Phase 1 Is Six Weeks Long
The Pfizer vaccine has been in Texas for only two weeks and Moderna wasn’t approved for distribution until December 18th. The roll out for Phase 1 involves limited vaccine distribution from December 14-January 31.
What does this mean? It means that no one should panic if they have not yet received vaccine access. Phase 1 is only 1/3 complete and EMS professionals are prioritized above 1B recipients through the month of January. EMS professionals will be receiving increased vaccine access during the upcoming weeks.
2. Vaccine Distribution Requires A Registered Provider
The COVID-19 vaccine is only available through a registered vaccine provider. Luckily, Texas DSHS offers an interactive map with every registered Texas provider. The interactive map provides the provider’s location and contact information.
What does this mean? Any Texas EMS professional can contact a provider on the map and ask about vaccine access. The interactive map provides the provider’s location and contact information. This is the simplest way for an individual EMS professional to request the COVID-19 vaccine.
3. Vaccine Providers Determine Vaccine Recipients
The vaccine providers determine vaccine recipients— Texas DSHS, the CDC, TDEM, and other entities provide guidance. The providers are responsible for thawing the vaccines and ensuring they’re administered before expiration.
What does this mean? Hospitals were chosen for the first vaccine allotment and focused on vaccinating employees within their immediate span of control. This is why many healthcare workers received vaccine access before many EMS professionals.
It also means that some vaccine recipients may not be members of 1A. Vaccines must be administered before they expire and some recipients are vaccinated simply because they are close and available.
4. Vaccine Access Requires Proactive Measures
It’s the responsibility of EMS leadership and EMS professionals to find a vaccine provider and secure an appointment. Few vaccine providers are actively seeking unvaccinated 1A recipients.
What does this mean? Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is less likely to happen through passive actions. If an EMS employer has not communicated a vaccination plan, EMS professionals should request a plan from their frontline supervisors. If an employer vaccination plan does not exist, the EMS professional should contact a vaccine provider to schedule their own appointment.
5. Contact ATEMSP For Vaccine Assistance
ATEMSP is available to help Texas EMS professionals find a vaccine provider and navigate the appointment process. This resource is available to all Texas EMS professionals regardless of ATEMSP membership.
Simply email info@ATEMSP.org and request COVID-19 vaccine assistance. An ATEMSP representative will contact you within 24 hours to help with the process.