Rural hospitals face unique challenges as vaccines start coming in

Local News

LUBBOCK, TX—Healthcare workers here in Lubbock are starting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but rural hospitals outside Lubbock are still waiting for their vaccine shipments. 

As rural hospitals typically have fewer resources than urban hospitals — planning for vaccine distribution and even treating COVID-19 patients becomes more difficult. 

“We don’t have vents here, we don’t have negative pressure rooms, so we are really not equipped to deal with them,” said CEO of Cochran Memorial Hospital Larry Turney. 

Especially when it comes to getting access to supplies.

“We have to really pick and choose when it comes to our supplies,” said Turney. 

Cochran Memorial Hospital in Morton did not even get COVID-19 tests until about a month ago.

“We had a hard time getting testing, but since then we’ve done a lot of testing, seen several positives and everything,” said Turney. 

But as the vaccine comes to Texas, Turney isn’t sure when or if they’ll get the vaccine. Currently they don’t have the ability to store it at the required temperature. 

“If we got any they would have to be brought in and delivered immediately,” said Turney. 

Some of their health care workers even having to make the hour drive to Lubbock just to get vaccinated.

“That’s our only option until Moderna comes out with the one that has normal storage requirements,” said Turney. 

And while they aren’t sure if they get the vaccine, they are planning for it.

“People with direct patient contact will be first and then we can kind of branch out from there,” said Turney. 

But some at Cochran Memorial Hospital are a little wary. 

“Most of them are willing to take the vaccine. A lot of them still have some questions about it and would rather wait until a few people take it and we know what the reactions are,” said Turney. 

While they may not see the vaccine anytime soon, Turney said they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I feel comfortable with the way things are going and I think everything is going to be okay once we get at least 50% vaccinated,” said Turney. 

Turney said that while they may not get vaccines anytime soon they are working to do the best they can to keep everyone in their community safe.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

News Highlights

More News Highlights

Don't Miss

Event Calendar