ARLINGTON, Texas — While many people are still waiting for more vaccine shots to become available, some are wondering what medical proof they need to get their vaccination.
Many Texas locations are requiring some type of physical proof from a doctor's office or medical provider. However, there is no one way the state is handling this process, according to the president of the Dallas Medical Society, Dr. Mark Casanova.
"There's not an all-binding recipe, if you will, that confines as parties to how this is distributed," Casanova said.
Texans with certain chronic medical conditions can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Some of the conditions include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Solid organ transplantation
- Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Casanova says state leaders chose these medical conditions because combining them with COVID-19 could be fatal.
"We want to have the greatest impact on the number of lives saved, which is what's baked into the science and the equation of these recommendations," Casanova said.
Casanova says the best step to take if someone is trying to figure out what to take as proof is to contact your doctor. Getting physical proof can help prevent any issues from arising.
"It's probably better to be overprepared than underprepared," Casanova said.
Casanova says it would be best people older than 75 with more than one of the conditions above should be prioritized before the people older than 65 with these same type of conditions. He also says people younger than 65 with only one of the conditions would come farther down the line.
However, he says realistically, the Texas locations providing the vaccines won't be able to break down their prioritization day-to-day this specifically.
"In an ideal setting, we want there to be a degree of prioritization," Casanova said. "We want this to be equitable. We want this to be fair. If there are a certain number of vaccines left somewhere, we can't expect workers to look at someone in line and then some of the people behind them to choose between."
Casanova also says people need to realize the efficiency and clarity to this vaccine distribution will improve with time.
"We had similar bumps along the way with the H1-N1 vaccine before things improved," Cassanova said. "The same will ultimately happen with COVID-19. It is a much larger scale. It's a much more infectious virus. It is a much more dangerous virus."
Pam Copeland expected to get her COVID-19 vaccine shot this morning at the Arlington Convention Center.
"I was very excited and nervous about getting this vaccine, but I wanted it," Copeland said.
She says she was told to pre-register with Tarrant County as a part of Phase 1B, which she did. However, when she showed up during her time period Thursday morning, some of the workers told her the center changed its policy and would let people register from the line.
Copeland wasn't able to get her shot because the center ran out of vaccines.
"I just wish if they tell you what to do and you do it, that your effort is recognized or something so you can get the shot," Copeland said. "The logistics were terrible today."
Copeland also had a man in front of her who was younger than 65 who said he had a chronic medical condition but with no proof.
"He didn't have it," Copeland said. "He wasn't happy, and they turned him away."
Sherry Lawson and her 88-year-old mom both qualify for Phase 1B. She was trying to get call Denton County Public Health Wednesday to register to get her vaccine.
Lawson called more than 250 times and failed to get through to anyone.
"Most of the time, it knocked me completely off," Lawson said. "I didn't get any kind of recording."
When she connected with the health department Thursday, she was told the vaccines ran out and that she couldn't register for a shot until more vaccines came in.
"I'll be glad when we can get it, and get the second dose," Lawson said. "It's just a waiting game now."
It's a waiting game Jim Williamson is currently playing. Like Copeland, Williamson pre-registered with Tarrant County as he qualifies for Phase 1B.
He says the most recent message he received from the health department told him he will be notified when he has a vaccination date.
"I'm hopeful I can get the shot sometime next week," Williamson said.
Copeland says she is hoping for the same thing.
"I truly believe that it's a good thing, and I want to get it," Copeland said. "I'm looking forward to it."