Long distanced travelers make way to Panhandle COVID-19 vaccine hubs

VIDEO: Long distanced travelers make way to Panhandle COVID-19 vaccine hubs

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texas has begun setting up vaccine hubs in areas most affected by the virus.

The state’s vaccine distribution list shows this week’s allocation is focused on these hubs.

For the past couple of weeks clinics and pharmacies across the panhandle have been receiving vaccines. But this week, the vaccination list show only three of the 26 counties in the Panhandle are receiving a shipment.

Of those three, two are the vaccine hubs. The Amarillo Civic Center is receiving 5,000 vaccines, Dallam is receiving 975, and the third County, Oldham, is set to receive 100 vaccines.

In a statement, Lara Anton, the press officer for the Department of State Health Services said, “Hubs are expected to serve people from the surrounding communities and there is no residency requirement to get vaccinated at a hub. The majority of the vaccine allocated to Texas by the federal government is sent to the vaccination hubs, but there are a total of 260 providers receiving vaccine this week.”

As a result, people in surrounding areas are traveling to these hubs to be vaccinated.

Amarillo is already seeing that.

“11 percent of our doses have gone to people in the greater panhandle area and so that is great. This is Texas’ vaccine and we are really glad to give it to Texans. However, we have also had a few people come in from southern Colorado, southern Kansas, Oklahoma,” said Casie Stoughton, director of the City of Amarillo Public Health Department.

Now that Dallam is also a hub, their vaccine clinic which opened this past Saturday and was initially set for only residents of Dallam, Hartley and Sherman counties is open to all.

Days before they opened, they received noticed there were people from all over the state planning to go.

They ended up vaccinating over 1,200 individuals from in and out of those counties two hours before they were set to finish.

They will open up the vaccine clinic at the Casa Blanca Colosseum again this Saturday.

Meanwhile, a hospital in Tulia applied to become a hub to save people from driving out of town for the vaccine.

However, they were denied for being less than 60 miles from another hub which in this case is Amarillo. They were eight miles too close.

Last week this hospital said they did not have any doses on hand, and yesterday said they are still hoping to have enough to cover the needs of Swisher County soon.

Those who cannot travel to one of these hubs are encouraged to check the state website for vaccine availability in their area through pharmacies or clinics.

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