Victoria Health Department shares details of State’s plan to distribute COVID-19 to health care workers

DSHS has created the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel

VICTORIA, Texas- The Victoria County Health Department released new details regarding their plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when it arrives.

David Gonzales, Director of the Health Department, said that the Department of State Health Services has created what they are calling an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP) to propose the best vaccine distribution decisions.

This also includes a plan to identify and prioritize vaccinating the most vulnerable groups.

Protecting health care workers is a top priority among health authorities as they continue to weather the pandemic on the front lines by caring for COVID-19 and other patients. Phase 1A of the EVAP distribution plan prioritizes health care workers as some of the first recipients of the vaccine.

The Commissioner of Health approved a two-tiered definition of health care workers in Phase 1A of the EVAP distribution plan.  During this phase, the EVAP will make recommendations based on the priority order in the Health Care Workers definition.

The following is the proposed plan:

Phase 1A: Health Care Workers Definition

 

  • First Tier
    • 1. Hospital staff working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19. Includes:
      • a. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
      • b. Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation services
    • 2. Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents. Includes:
      • a. Direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state supported living centers
      • b. Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial, food service staff
    • 3. EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport
    • 4. Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients

 

  • Second Tier
    • 1. Staff in outpatient care offices who interact with symptomatic patients. Includes:
      • a. Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
      • b. Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services
      • c. Non 9-1-1 transport for routine care
    • 2. Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics
    • 3. Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID
    • 4. Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations
    • 5. Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19. Includes:
      • a. Embalmers and funeral home workers who have direct contact with decedents
      • b. Medical examiners and other medical certifiers who have direct contact with decedents
    • 6. School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers

During a COVID-19 Emergency Management press briefing last week, David Gonzales said, “As we see an all-time high in case counts across the country and state, we have now progressed to a minimal or moderate community transmission level, which means we have sustained transmission with high likelihood of confirmed exposure within communal settings for potential, for a rapid increase in cases, in comparison to September and October, where we are in none to minimal level transmission.”

Gonzales and Public Health Authority, Dr. McNeill implored the community to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially during the holidays, and avoid putting their families and the larger community at risk.