MCH, ORMC see vaccine demand decline

Hospitals redistribute to surrounding area

Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center officials each explained during a Tuesday’s Zoom press conference that vaccination demand has declined.

Russell Tippin, the president and CEO at MCH, said vaccinations were at several hundred shots a day, but in the last couple of weeks that has changed to several hundred shots a week.

MCH is continuing to administer first dose while ORMC is handling second doses. ORMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan said second doses are also declining.

“I think the enthusiasm in the shot and in the vaccine have died down,” Tippin said.

Saravanan added: “…. There are more people missing the second dose than before.”

Though vaccine demand in Odessa has declined, Tippin and Saravanan each said their respective hospitals haven’t had to destroy any vaccines as they are sending vaccinations to hospitals in the surrounding area.

Saravanan explained that before any vaccines would be destroyed that it would be sent back to the Texas Department of State Health Services to be distributed to other parts of the state.

“We are working as hard as we can to not waste a single dose,” Saravanan said. “So far, we haven’t had to waste a single dose, but we are sitting on a pile of vaccines that interest now doesn’t exist. We are thinking about sending these back to the state and tell them to give it to someone else that needs it.”

In addition to the decline in vaccine demand, MCH and ORMC have each seen fully vaccinated patients with coronavirus. Saravanan said there have been two patients that received the Johnson & Johnson shot and one that received both shots of Moderna.

As of Tuesday afternoon, MCH had 8 coronavirus patients in house with six on ventilators. ORMC has five patients with three in ICU.

Tippin issued a reminder to the public to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“We want everyone to be safe,” Tippin said. “We do like the lower number (of coronavirus patients), but we need to be reminded how quickly that can change. We saw that several times last year.”