Coryell County judge questions sustainability of county COVID-19 vaccination efforts

By LYNETTE SOWELL 

Cove Leader-Press 

 

This week, Coryell Health received 975 more Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations and is continuing to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to those who have been registered. 

This past Saturday, the facility held a day-long, drive-up vaccination clinic where nearly 1,000 received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

On Tuesday morning, Coryell County Judge Roger Miller commended Coryell Health’s effort and then pointed out the need for sustainability in the vaccination process. 

“The next big push that we will deal with, is from a resourcing standpoint. It’s unrealistic to think that Coryell Health alone could sustain that type of operation over an extended period of time, solely on their own,” Miller said. “They did have some resources allocated from the City of Copperas Cove and the City of Gatesville, as well as numerous volunteers, but the core of it came from Coryell Health, and that’s something we’ve got to figure out, how to augment that as we go forward. 

“That’s for the people who want the vaccine. A number of our population don’t believe in the vaccine or have concerns over the vaccine. That’s understandable. There’s all kinds of social media and opinions out there,” he added. 

Miller said that it’s anticipated that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine will be submitted for emergency use approval in early February. He said that Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are all international corporations that have each developed vaccines for COVID-19, and there was no government involvement other than funding. He encouraged everyone to receive the vaccine, but did said that it is an individual choice. 

“I’m of the belief that the science is valid and it is warranted.”

Miller reiterated his concerns about sustaining the vaccination effort in the upcoming months, with some receiving first doses and those who are needing their second dose about three weeks later. 

“There’s a vaccination clinic set up Saturday. Three weeks from now, we have to be able to duplicate that same effort. With that, we have to be able to logistically duplicate that same effort to make the second dose requirement. And, possibly have first individuals coming in for their first dose during that same timeframe. 

“Over the next several months, it will be a very intensive effort, dealing with the city of Gatesville, city of Copperas Cove, and Coryell Healthcare system, so we can effectively manage, monitor, and continue to being able to distribute the vaccines as they become available.” 

At this point, no plans for any type of COVID-19 vaccination clinic within the city of Copperas Cove have been announced by city officials. 

 

How to sign up for the vaccine 

This week, Coryell Health opened up an online waiting list for those who would like to receive the vaccine at its vaccine registration site., https://app.blockitnow.com/consumer/coryell-health. There is also an email covidvaccine@coryellhealth.org

There is a link to make vaccine appointments online, but many are seeing the message that no vaccines are available and Coryell Health is waiting to receive more. 

According to the Coryell Health website, contraindications to receiving a vaccine include those with severe allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis) to vaccines in the past, fevers in the last 24 hours, having taken steroids or antibiotics in the last seven days, and/or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

Although it’s a hit-or-miss effort to get scheduled in Coryell County, qualified residents may look to Bell County, also a designated vaccination hub. 

On Tuesday morning, Bell County Public Health announced that it was opening an online link for a waiting list. The waitlist is separate from the county’s appointment system. 

Instead of guaranteeing those on the list a specific dose on a specific day, individuals can be contacted about unused doses that would otherwise be expiring after a vaccination center closes. 

Those who wish to sign up for Bell County’s waiting list may do so here: https://form.jotform.com/210244388501045. 

It’s estimated that between one and 12 unclaimed vaccine doses need to be administered at the end of the day, and this is where the waiting list comes in. 

“We will simply go down the list and try to find individuals who can be at the vaccine center within a certain amount of time,” Bell County Judge David Blackburn said. “The idea is to continue the process of not wasting any vaccines, as, once a vial is opened, we only have a certain amount of time to get that vaccine into an arm and this waitlist will help ensure that we continue to get that done.”

As with making appointments, in order to be included on the new waitlist, residents are required to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under the current 1A or 1B guidelines from Texas Department of State Health Services/ 

For those individuals without easy access online, Bell County Public Health responded that they “are looing at some options to help bridge the gap,” according to an online comment by the department on Tuesday. 

 

COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*

Bell County 1,768 active cases (17,931 total)  

Burnet County 237 active cases (2,0051 total)

Coryell County 580 active cases (2,667 total)

Copperas Cove (city) 424 active cases (1,620 total)

Lampasas County 142 active cases (1,369 total)

McLennan County 868 active cases (22,994 total)

Williamson County 1,801 active cases (30,469 total)

*Numbers from Texas DSHS, Coryell County, Lampasas County; Bell, McLennan, and Williamson County Public Health Districts.

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