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Midland-Odessa Hospitals Prepare to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines By The Thousands

By Mitch Borden

In the coming days, the state is expected to send thousands of doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to Midland Memorial Hospital and Medical Center Hospital in Odessa as the two facilities prepare to administer vaccines on a massive scale.

Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine rollout in the two Permian Basin cities.

Both Midland and Odessa are positioning themselves as vaccination hubs for the Permian Basin and broader swaths of West Texas, including the Big Bend region. 

“We’re looking from Andrews to Marfa,” said Medical Center’s CEO Russell Tippin during a press conference last week.“We want to service that whole area because we hope to move these [vaccines] fast enough so we can serve everybody.”

In an interview with Marfa Public Radio, Dr. Larry Wilson, Midland’s Health Authority and Midland Memorial’s Chief Medical Officer, assured the public that the community a person lives in will not prevent them from. being allotted a vaccine.

“If they can travel and they can get here, they can register today,” said Wilson. “We’re not discriminating against any residency status.” 

Both facilities are asking individuals to pre-register for the vaccine online.

At this time only two groups qualify to receive the vaccine. The first, healthcare and frontline workers, which the state identifies as 1A. The second group, classified as 1B, covers populations that are more at risk for COVID-19. This category includes those who are 65 and older as well as those older than 16 with certain underlying conditions like pregnancy, cancer and type-two diabetes. 

Medical Center Hospital

Odessa’s largest medical facility is set to receive 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine every week, according to hospital officials. Once these shipments begin, Medical Center in coordination with the City of Odessa as well as Ector County will begin holding drive-thru vaccination clinics at Ratliff Stadium. 

Currently, the facility is still waiting on its first shipment of the promised 3,900 doses and hasn’t officially scheduled its first mass vaccination clinic. In the meantime, local leaders are urging all West Texans who are 16 years or older to pre-register for the vaccine online. This is to streamline the vaccination process once it begins. Pre-registering does not automatically create an appointment.

To pre-register with Medical Center Hospital for a vaccine here. 

Midland Memorial Hospital

Midland's only hospital is expecting to receive 4,875 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week. Although not officially confirmed by the state, the facility expects to get a similar number of doses in the following weeks.

The hospital is coordinating with the City of Midland, along with other entities, to administer the vaccine at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena. The hospital's first public vaccination event will be held on Friday, Jan. 22. Officials stated this will be a "soft opening” and expect a few hundred individuals will be vaccinated.

Large-scale vaccinations will begin next week on Monday, Jan. 25 and the hospital estimates it will be able to vaccinate around 1,000 people a day. The hospital will schedule appointments for vaccinations at the Horseshoe Arena, Monday thru Friday between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Midland Memorial is asking only members of the public who qualify as 1B to pre-register. This includes those who are 65 years and older and individuals with certain underlying conditions.

To pre-register for a vaccine with Midland Memorial click here.

You will be contacted via email or text when or if you receive an appointment.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.