Three health care systems who provide services to Wharton and Wharton County have been relaying public information about residents receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, or not, in different manners the past few days.

Officials with MidCoast Health System on Wednesday, Jan. 13 didn’t say they have the vaccine, but announced that a person can register now, but it’s not for everyone.

You must be 65 years of age and older and be suffering from chronic health conditions, according to MidCoast. If you meet the requirements, you are asked to register via an El Campo Memorial Hospital website at www.ecmh.org. and click on “COVID Vaccine Registration.”

MidCoast said a person can also register by phone. Those with last names starting with A through M, may call 979-543-6251, ext. 606. Those with last names starting with N through Z, may call 361-972-0377.

MidCoast said once you register, you will be called with an appointment date and time and notified of the vaccine administration location.

Earlier this month, Andy Kirkland, coordinator with the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management, said Moderna was likely going to be the vaccine that was going to be distributed because it can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. MidCoast didn’t mention in its announcement if it was distributing Moderna or not.

MEHOP announces waiting list

The Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program said on Thursday, Jan. 14 there is a waiting list to have both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at not cost.

“MEHOP has applied to receive the vaccine for our clinics in both Matagorda and Wharton counties; at this time, we do not have information on when it will arrive,” MEHOP said in a statement. “In an effort to begin distributing the vaccines quickly and efficiently once they are received, we have established a wait list that you may add your name and contact information to.”

According to officials, you do not need to be a patient of MEHOP to receive the vaccine from one of its locations, including Wharton.

MEHOP said there are two ways you can add your name to the waiting list.

You can call MEHOP’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line which is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by completing the online waiting list form. 

Your name would only be placed on MEHOP’s list one time, which covers all MEHOP locations in both Bay City and Wharton. You can however add your name to other waiting lists in addition to MEHOP’s in order to increase your opportunity to receive the vaccine as timely as possible.

MEHOP said frontline healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 years old or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID 19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.

Phase 1B recipients include:

• People 65 years of age and older

• People 16 years (Pfizer) or 18 years (Moderna) of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:

Cancer, Chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies, Solid organ transplantation, Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher), Pregnancy, Sickle cell disease, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

OakBend has no vaccines

In an announcement last week, OakBend Medical Center has yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for distribution to its patients and the general public. 

“We continue to vaccinate according to guidelines set forth by the Texas Department of State Health Services, which has determined that specific groups of people are to receive the vaccine first, including healthcare personnel, residents of long-term care facilities, and other vulnerable frontline workers,” OakBend said.

“At this time, we are not scheduling COVID-19 vaccines for the public until we have received and distributed all of the vaccines intended for the above mentioned groups. Once we receive an additional supply and are allowed to begin public vaccine distribution, we will work as quickly and efficiently as possible to make it available to our community and surrounding counties.”

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