Scheduling mishap leads to vaccine delay for Killeen seniors

Cutline: The Bob Gilmore Senior Center in Killeen was closed Sunday, as a number of seniors waited outside for COVID-19 vaccinations they had been expecting.

Due to an apparent scheduling mix up, a number of senior citizens wound up waiting in rainy Sunday morning weather - for COVID 19 vaccines which never arrived.

Kimberly Jones, a 14-year Killeen resident and retired registered nurse, said that she first arrived at the Bob Gilmore Senior Center on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Killeen at approximately 8:30 a.m. to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, along with her husband and perhaps a dozen other senior citizens, all of who in her understanding had an appointment. The vaccinations were supposed to be sponsored through the Bell County Public Health District.

However no one from the district was there, and the doors to the center remained locked, with the inside lights off.

“That’s just wrong,” Jones said by telephone, clearly upset about the situation. “That is just cruel to senior citizens.”

Jones said that her appointment had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but had been rescheduled. She also said that people came and went during the waiting period, including a couple she spoke with who drove there from Georgetown, and that a number of people were calling the Killeen Police and Fire Departments to find out what was going on.

Jones provided the following message she received from the department to the Herald: “Bell County Health officials have still not received the second shipment of COVID-19 vaccines as expected. As a result, Bell County officials are in the process of rescheduling those individuals who had Tuesday appointments. Since your scheduled appointment is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, we ask that you go to your scheduled vaccine location sometime between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 24. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell, director of the Bell County Public Health District, provided this statement by email on Sunday afternoon.

“After several conversations we recognized that Sunday and Monday appointments could continue to be an issue due to shipping inconsistencies and decided it was best to shift them,” Robison-Chadwell said. “Some that had been in the initial rescheduling were rescheduled again and she may have been one of them. The county used multiple forms of mass notification including phone notifications, email notifications to the email addresses and phone numbers provided in bookings, notifications to multiple media outlets and social media posts to both the county and health district social media pages, and releases are also on the county website to let people know that appointments on Sundays and Mondays would be shifted. Every avenue to notify those with shifted appointment was used. It’s unfortunate that some managed to not see or hear those notifications despite our every effort to get them out.”

Jones added that one volunteer arrived to help with the vaccinations, but left once she realized the doors were locked.

“The county has a volunteer registration and those who were registered were notified that all clinics for Sunday and Monday would be shifted,” Robison-Chadwell said about this particular situation. “If this was someone who was not a registered volunteer they would not have been notified if they didn’t see any one of the many notifications that were pushed out.”

Jones said by text message that she was “livid” about the situation.

“I’m a retired registered nurse and the lack of communication regarding the situation is absolutely reckless and unprofessional,” she said.

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

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