Focus of COVID-19 vaccination efforts shifting from hubs to other providers

No official timeline on closure of East Texas hubs
A COVID-19 vaccine shot is prepared at UT Health Science Center in Tyler.
A COVID-19 vaccine shot is prepared at UT Health Science Center in Tyler.(KLTV)
Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:13 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - When vaccine hubs first opened across East Texas, appointments went fast. At times, thousand of slots were filled at the handful of area locations in just minutes. But months into the effort to vaccinate East Texans, things are much different.

“There’s a lot of vaccine going into a lot of different places right now,” said Lara Anton with the Texas Department of State Health Services, who says the vaccination process is evolving.

“We are still seeing hundreds of thousands of people getting vaccines every day, but we’re starting to see it shift from those large hubs, set up initially, to these providers that are very convenient to go to.”

As a result of lower demand, the state is closing many of its big vaccination hubs. Recent closure announcements include vaccine hubs in Corsicana, Beaumont, Allen and Frisco.

“There isn’t a set timeline right now,” Anton said when asked about East Texas hub closures. “It really is going to depend on what they see in the community.”

For now, the NET Health Hub at Harvey Hall in Tyler continues to receive first doses and fill appointments. The Gregg County Hub at the Longview Fairgrounds is also receiving doses. But this week, they’re getting far fewer than in recent weeks. And at the UT Health Science Center in Tyler, they haven’t received first doses in a few weeks after asking the state to slow their distribution.

UT Health East Texas released the following statement to KLTV:

“Several weeks ago we asked the state to slow their distribution to allow us to manage first and second doses at the vaccine clinic in an efficient manner, and now we’re requesting fewer doses because we are seeing fewer people signing up for vaccine appointments. It’s a supply and demand situation and we’ve reached that point where the supply is outpacing the demand. Right now we still have vaccine appointments available through both our vaccine phone number and our online sign-up, whereas those spots used to fill up within a matter of minutes. We encourage anyone who has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated. It’s is the most effective tool we have to bring an end to this pandemic and get back to the normalcy we all crave.”

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