Coronavirus

The Bell County Public Health District administered 871 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on its first day of county immunizations, spokesman James Stafford said Thursday.

These inoculations — administered at Bell County’s two vaccination centers in Temple and Killeen — surpassed Bell County’s daily goal of 560. It was the centers’ first day in service. Vaccinations are currently being administered at the Sammons Community Center, 2220 West Avenue D in Temple and the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

“Part of why we ended up with a higher number than (560) is because we were able to vaccinate a few first responders as there was extra supply,” Stafford said.

On Wednesday, the Bell County Public Health District announced that appointments were made available online at bit.ly/3qn1Zio. Although every available appointment had been filled in a matter of hours, the Bell County’s Office of Emergency Management said more times will be added as more doses arrive.

“If you are unable to schedule an appointment to receive your COVID-19 vaccine, please keep an eye on the schedule,” Bell County’s Office of Emergency Management said in a Facebook post on Thursday. “We will open more appointment times as vaccines are allocated to us. We do not want to schedule appointments if we haven’t been allocated vaccines. Thank you for your patience.”

Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell previously said residents are welcome to call the health district’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 254-933-5203 for information.

BSW vaccinations

Baylor Scott & White began also began immunizing patients — eligible under Phase 1B of the state of Texas’ vaccine allocation plan — this week, the health system announced in a statement to its website.

Phase 1B includes individuals aged 65 years and older, and aged 16 years and older with “certain high-risk medical conditions,” according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Among the people getting a vaccine was Sue Hamby, who got her first shot of the two-dose treatment at the diagnostic center where the vaccines were being given on Thursday.

“There were lots of people here,” she said, noting the line of people, mostly over age 70, went out of the door to the room where the vaccines were provided. “Scott & White was extremely organized in handling it. I was very impressed.”

“They have plenty of people, lots of information and after you get the shot you have to stay for 30 minutes” to see if there is an adverse reaction.

People wanting the vaccine will need to go through proper channels.

“We will be reaching out to eligible patients to schedule an appointment, as supply allows,” a Baylor Scott & White news release said. “Your provider may contact you through MyBSWHealth, via email or by phone.”

However, doses are limited.

“The supply on hand today is limited. As additional doses become available to us, we will continue to administer them as quickly as possible,” the Baylor Scott & White release said.

Safety measures

Like other area hospitals, Baylor Scott & White is advocating for sustained COVID-19 guidance in the meantime.

“Please continue to practice safety precautions,” Baylor Scott & White said. “Wear a mask, physically distance and wash your hands often. We all play a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Future updates regarding Baylor Scott & White’s vaccination rollout will be made available online at bit.ly/35K9iZQ.

These COVID-19 vaccinations were administered as Texas became the first state to inoculate more than one million residents — more immunizations than any other state, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

This milestone was reached one month after a vaccine first arrived in Texas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his gratitude to all those involved in the rollout.

“Texas is leading the way for our nation once again,” Abbott said in a news release. “This is the biggest vaccination effort we have ever undertaken, and it would not be possible without the dedication and tireless efforts of our health care workers. We still have a long road ahead of us, but Texans continue to prove that we are up to this challenge.”

Staff writer Jerry Prickett contributed to this report.