Good news: CoxHealth has hopes of beginning COVID-19 vaccinations for a small group of patients next week.
Starting Jan. 29, we will begin notifying patients in relevant high-risk categories that they can sign-up for a time to receive the vaccine. These messages will be sent out via automated call, text message and email. Our physicians have developed a phased approach to allow patients in particular risk categories to sign up first, after which access will be gradually extended to others as space allows. The primary drivers of these phases are age, combined with other risk factors. Instructions for online registration, as well as via phone for those without internet access, will be sent to relevant patients and individuals who completed the pre-registration form online. Additionally, please note that family members of those eligible for a vaccine will be able to register on behalf of their loved one.
That said: We do not have assurance from the state on how many vaccines we will receive next week – or if we will even receive any at all. However, we wanted to go ahead and start the process now, as we will at least have a limited number to administer from supplies we have from our internal vaccination clinics. We also hope that the state will give us an additional allocation, and want to be ready.
We share this information because we want to be transparent about this process and how it will work in the coming weeks. Please know this is only the first step in a very long journey, one which will take months given the amount of vaccine required. By our estimates, 250,000 people are eligible to receive the vaccine in our primary service area. In comparison, we received only 1,000 doses last week, which were used for health care workers and volunteers in accordance with the state’s guidelines.
Given all of this information, we also want to note that while we prefer our patients get the COVID-19 vaccine from us to help with continuity of care, we encourage everyone to accept the first opportunity to receive the vaccine regardless of the source.