Local health officials: hurry up and wait on vaccine delivery, distribution
By LYNETTE SOWELL
While the state of Texas leads the country in the total number of vaccines administered to fight COVID-19, at more than 1,000,000 doses, local release of the vaccine has been a slower process. However, that could change in Coryell County this week with the newest shipment of vaccines.
While Coryell County has been shut out of vaccine distribution over the last couple of weeks, Coryell Health Medical Clinic in Gatesville will be receiving 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
Yesterday, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued its weekly update on which healthcare districts, healthcare facilities, clinics, and pharmacies would be receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or both. This is week six of vaccine distribution for first-dose vaccinations. According to the state’s list, second-dose vaccines are not included in the weekly disbursement announcements, but are counted separately.
Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell said that they are looking at holding a vaccination “pod” at the Gatesville Civic Center very soon.
“We will be opening up a registration line at Coryell Health, our focus is going to be any residual 1a, and 1b people,” Harrell said. “It’s going to be a sign-up. We have a list that we generated or people volunteered for. When we’ve exhausted the list, we will open it up for registration.”
Coryell Health will be announcing when registration is “live” for Coryell County.
“Right now, it’s still a list process. They will be turning on the registration later this week, possibly tomorrow (Tuesday),” Harrell said on Monday morning.
Those looking for more information on vaccination should contact Coryell Health at (254) 865-8251 or visit www.coryellhealth.org. The Leader-Press will also publish updates with the most recent information as issued by Coryell Health.
The city of Copperas Cove’s survey for those interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is still open this week on the city’s website at https://www.copperascovetx.gov/pio/covid‐19/.
Phase 1a of the vaccine distribution is for front-line healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The next phase, Phase 1b, includes individuals age 65 or older, or individuals over age 16 with at least one of the following conditions: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), those with prior organ transplants, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, obesity, or type 2 diabetes. Phase 1b also includes teachers and school staff; social services workers; and “workers who maintain critical infrastructure to support the Texas economy; and other front-line workers who are unable to work remotely and so are more likely to be exposed,” according to Texas DSHS’s Phase 1b plan.
Coryell Health received its first shipment of 600 COVID-19 vaccines on December 23, which were administered to frontline health workers and staff, first responders, essential workers and residents of Coryell Health Rehab Living and Assisted & Independent Living at The Oaks, as well as Hillview Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. So far, Copperas Cove has only received 100 doses, at H-E-B Pharmacy, and that was during week two of the distribution for phase 1a frontline workers and first responders.
Neighboring Bell County has two of 28 statewide “hubs” for vaccine distribution. For questions about the vaccine clinics in Bell County, a phone bank has been established at 254-933-5203. The phone bank is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments for a vaccine can be made online at www.bellcountyhealth.org and clicking on “Make a Vaccine Appointment Here” (https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/BellCountyVaccines@bellcounty...).
The vaccination centers are located at the Killeen Community Center, at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., and in Temple, at the Sammons Community Center, at 2220 West Avenue D. The centers are by appointment only. Eligibility for the vaccine is currently limited to Phase 1a and 1b individuals. Only those fitting appropriate criteria should register at this time.
However, the website stated over the weekend that the appointment system has been closed until another shipment of vaccines arrives.
Bell County Health officials were notified Sunday morning that its weekly shipment of COVID-19 vaccines might not arrive on Monday morning as expected. They were expecting the next 3,900 doses of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine, and as a result began rescheduling those individuals who had Monday appointments.
By the time the centers closed Saturday at 9:00 p.m. More than 3,300 doses had already been administered.
Meanwhile, active and cumulative cases in the city of Copperas Cove jumped by more than 100 in one week’s time. Last Monday, total cases numbered 1,293, but with Monday’s update from the city’s emergency management coordinator, Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young, the new cumulative total increased to 1,464, an overall jump of 171. Active cases increased by 44 compared to last week.
COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 2,903 active cases (16,406 total)
Burnet County 244 active cases (2,020 total)
Coryell County 417 active cases (2,401 total)
Copperas Cove (city) 381 active cases (1,464 total)
Lampasas County 98 active cases (1,198 total)
McLennan County 1,193 active cases (21,894 total)
Williamson County 1,998 active cases (26,265 total)
*Numbers from Texas DSHS, Coryell County, Lampasas County; Bell, McLennan, and Williamson County Public Health Districts