Elected officials receive vaccine

Belton Mayor Wayne Carpenter, second from left, Bell County Judge David Blackburn and Temple Mayor Tim Davis rolled up their shirt sleeves Wednesday to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The three elected officials received the vaccine at the Sammons Community Center, one of two county distribution spots.

On Tuesday, Bell County health officials launched a new waitlist to help ensure that no dose of the county’s Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine goes to waste. This new waitlist is available on the Bell County Public Health District's website, www.bellcountyhealth.org, according to a news release.

This new waitlist is separate from the county’s appointment system. Instead of guaranteeing those on the list a specific dose on a specific day, it qualifies individuals to be contacted about unused doses that would otherwise be expiring after a vaccination center closes.

Local health officials estimate that, as centers approach the end of the day, there may be between one and 12 unclaimed vaccine doses that need to be administered. To date, those doses have been distributed through a list of direct-care providers managed by the Bell County Public Health District. Moving forward, site managers will contact potential recipients from the waitlist.

“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.”

Residents are still encouraged to make vaccination appointments as they become available through the Bell County Public Health District. Getting on the waitlist does not place an individual on the appointment/booking list.

“Those appointments will undoubtably fill up quickly, as we continue to anticipate that supply will not meet demand,” Blackburn said, “and that is not just at the local level. That is at the state level and at the national level, so please continue to be both patient and vigilant.”

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.

“Texas has done better than any state in the nation in vaccinating its population, and Bell County has contributed to that success,” Blackburn said. “We’ll continue to do our part in vaccinating as we have vaccines made available to us.”

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