Hello. My name is Aaron Fox, and I’m the Chief Business Development Officer and Public Information Officer for the Matagorda County Hospital District in Bay City, Texas.
The purpose of this video is twofold. First, I’d like to introduce you to the new COVID-19 Vaccine Wait List that is now live on our website. If You’re watching this video on YouTube, the link is in the description below. If you’re watching on our website, you’re on the right page.
Second, I’m going to do my best to answer a few questions we’ve received about access to COVID-19 vaccines in Matagorda County. This is a new process, so there are far more questions than answers. And that’s true for everyone, including us, but I’ll do my best.
Let’s start with the new Vaccine Wait List Form.
The wait list form is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a wait list. It’s not a vaccine signup form, it’s not a medical request, and it’s not a HIPAA-compliant form that gets fed into your medical record.
Typically, when you sign up for a wait list or a contact form of any kind, you’re assured that your information will not be shared with anyone. This Wait List does not work like that. When you sign up for the wait list, we will share your information with other approved vaccine providers in Matagorda County, and if appropriate, vaccine providers in surrounding counties.
It’s important to remember that the vaccine is free of charge. Under no circumstances will anyone from MRMC request your credit card number, bank information, or social security number over the phone or through email. If you receive a call or email requesting that type of information, hit delete or hang up, because that call or email is not from us.
And finally, before we get to the most common questions, I want to make sure that everyone knows that signing up for the wait list more than once is unnecessary and may increase the time you’ll wait to receive your vaccine. That’s because each time you send in a duplicate request, the system assumes that your demographic information has changed, and it will delete your old entry and add your new entry at the bottom of the list. Please only sign up once – even if you haven’t heard from us for several weeks.
Ok, let’s dig into the most common questions regarding vaccine access in Matagorda County.
First question: What happened to the old form, and how is the new Wait List different?
The old form on our website existed for the sole purpose of scheduling people to receive the “left over” does from our original lot that was earmarked for healthcare workers. Those extra doses are now gone, the old form has been removed, and the information stored has been discarded. If you completed that old form and did not receive a vaccine, you need to sign up again using the new wait list. We can’t just copy your old information to the new wait list because we have to gain your consent to share your information with other vaccine providers.
Second question: You said not to sign up more than once, but what if I need to sign up multiple people using my contact information?
We understand that some may not have access to the internet or may not have an email address or even a phone number. For those people, reaching out to a friend, family member, or caregiver for assistance is likely their best option. Because of this, we have set up the system to accept entries with duplicate email addresses and phone numbers if the name and birth year associated with those entries are unique. If you need to sign up multiple family members using your own email address or phone number, you’re good to go as long as each entry has a different first and last name and year of birth.
Third question: If you share my information from the wait list with another vaccine provider, will you take me off of the MRMC the master wait list?
No. Your entry will always remain on the MRMC master list, and we will continue working that list. If you get two calls from two different vaccine providers, go with whoever calls you first.
Fourth question: If another vaccine provider has their own list, should I sign up for that one too?
Absolutely. Other vaccine providers in Matagorda County or in our region may produce their own version of a wait list. If they do, sign up for all of them and take the first vaccine dose you’re offered.
Question 5: Can I be vaccinated somewhere else if I sign up to be on the MRMC wait list?
Absolutely. As previously stated, always take your first opportunity to be vaccinated.
Question 6: When will Matagorda County have enough vaccine doses for everyone?
Well, we don’t exactly know. But if you’ll remember nearly a year ago when COVID Nineteen testing first started in Matagorda County, we were very short on test kits, which caused a lot of anxiety for our residents. But today, you can get tested almost anywhere, and rapid testing readily available. We expect the vaccine to be similar. Right now, the vaccine is in high demand with limited availability, which is causing a lot of anxiety. But by the end of the year, we expect the supply to be more in line with demand. That’s not a reason to put off being vaccinated at your first opportunity, but it is a reason to remain optimistic and calm while we wait for more doses to arrive.
Question 7: Why all the scheduling and a wait list? Isn’t this just like the flu vaccine?
No, not at all. Each vaccine vial has to be thawed at room temperature for 1 hour before use, which then reduces its shelf life to 12 hours since it can’t be refrozen. On top of that, each vial contains 10 doses, all of which must be dispensed within hours of being punctured.
The complexities of setting up and staffing a pop-up vaccine clinic, scheduling, finding last-minute backups when patients don’t show up, and then registering patients, thawing the vaccine, dispensing it within a short timeframe to patient groups that must be divisible by 10 so that there’s no waste, and then monitoring those patients for at least 15 minutes after their shot while social distancing measures are in place gives us a process that is far more complex when compared to administering the flu vaccine.
Question 8: How do you prioritize who gets called for a vaccine?
Patients are prioritized in two ways. The first way prioritizes patients based on state-mandated requirements. We call these “earmarked” doses since they are reserved for very specific patient populations. We expect these earmarked doses to continue to be our primary option until about mid-February. When that changes and we receive vaccine doses that are not earmarked, we will go down the wait list on a first come, first served basis. If we contact someone from the wait list and cannot generate an appointment on that initial call, we will leave them on the list and immediately continue on to the next patient.
Once we make our way to the end of the wait list, we will start again from the top and work our way back through to contact those who were not scheduled on the first time around.
That’s all for now. If you’re interested, I encourage you to sign up for the wait list as soon as possible. We’ll get through this because have each other, and because we know the Great Physician’s love is endless, and His grace is always sufficient.
May God bless you all.
Thanks for watching.