Medical staff membery prepares to administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 21, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images
At least 60 residents of a luxury Houston apartment complex have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the general manager told the Daily Beast.
A spokesperson for Houston’s Health Department, however, has said that the apartment complex is not a registered vaccine provider.
Texas Department of State Health Services’ map of local providers does not include the Montebello complex. It primarily shows the locations of hospitals, pharmacies, and medical clinics.
Gov. Greg Abbott has warned that a “significant portion” of vaccines aren’t reaching vulnerable Texans.
On Friday, Texas recorded a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
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At least 60 residents of the upscale Montebello complex in Houston have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Daily Beast.
Montebello’s general manager Daniel Hancock told the publication: “The state of Texas authorized it. We’re working with a distributor… it’s a blessing we are able to get it.”
Hancock, however, did not specify the name of the distributor.
Local health officials do not believe that the state had approved the distribution effort to residents who live at the luxury housing project.
A spokesperson for Houston’s Health Department told the Daily Beast: “All the distributors have to register through the state health department. The apartment complex is not an approved provider.”
He continued: “If a site is not approved, not on the list, and receiving shipments of the vaccine, then our recommendation is not to go to that site.”
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Montebello is not on the registered list of COVID-19 vaccine suppliers.
The department’s map, which lists approved locations, shows that the nearest vaccine provider to the apartment complex is a medical center 0.44 miles away. The majority of the locations listed are hospitals, medical clinics, and pharmacies – not residential buildings.
A 68-year-old resident of the complex, which described itself as “one of Houston’s premier luxury highrises,” told the Daily Beast that he had been vaccinated there.
The complex’s manager said that the building was eligible for vaccines because it is home to many elderly residents.
While this apartment complex – where condos sell for over $3.5 million – managed to get access to shots, other vulnerable Texans have failed to be inoculated.
“I have not been able to find anyone who actually has the vaccine,” a man who fulfills the criteria to get vaccinated told CBS DFW. Michael Calder, a Dallas resident, said that he called three providers to get a shot and was unsuccessful on all counts.
Pharmacists across the state have also reported running out of doses. “I had to turn away healthcare workers because we ran out,” explained a Wylie pharmacist to the local broadcaster.
Texas officials have warned that vaccines may not be reaching the most vulnerable Texans.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that a “significant portion of vaccines across Texas might be sitting on hospital shelves as opposed to being given to vulnerable Texas.”
Abbot then urged providers to “quickly provide all shots.”
Dr. John Hellerstedt, a Texas health commissioner, also urged vaccine providers to move quickly.
In a message to the public, he wrote: “All providers that have received COVID-19 vaccine must immediately vaccinate healthcare workers, Texans over the age of 65, and people with medical conditions… no vaccine should be kept in reserve.”
The state’s vaccine drive comes at a time when Texas has a record number of hospitalizations for the coronavirus, according to the Texas Tribune.
The seven-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests has exceeded 20%, doubling the required 10% level to declare a “red flag” situation.
On Friday, 12,369 new cases were reported in Texas.
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