Elected officials receive vaccine

Belton Mayor Wayne Carpenter, second from left; Bell County Judge David Blackburn, fourth from left; and Temple Mayor Tim Davis, fifth from left, roll 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.

Belton Mayor Wayne Carpenter rolled up the sleeve of his red shirt on Wednesday at the Sammons Community Center. The 71-year-old was ready to receive his first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine — an immunization he said “didn’t even hurt.”

His inoculation was administered a day following the Tuesday arrival of 3,900 doses at the Bell County Public Health District.

“I thought that the county was extremely well prepared,” Carpenter told the Telegram. “It was well organized and we were happy with the process. I want to give credit to everyone that was involved.”

Carpenter was joined at the Sammons Community Center — 2220 W. Ave. D in Temple — by Bell County Judge David Blackburn and Temple Mayor Tim Davis. The trio received their immunizations seated next to each other to demonstrate that vaccine’s safety.

“I think the fact that the three of us were there all at the same time shows our county that it’s a safe process,” Carpenter said. “I certainly encourage other people to check the (health district’s) website and to get on the list if they’re eligible.”

But Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell previously said she will announce when the new appointment website will be made available online at BellCountyHealth.org.

“That link is going to go live as soon as (the previously registered) individuals have been given an opportunity to be given an appointment,” Robison-Chadwell said on Tuesday. “Right now, there is a placeholder for where that link will go.”

Despite the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Bell County, Carpenter stressed the importance of sustained guidance adherence.

“In the meantime, we need to practice social distancing (and other COVID-19 guidance) so that we can all get through this together,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be on the road to normalcy in the near future.”

Blackburn indicated on Tuesday that it’s Bell County’s goal to vaccinate 560 people daily, and Bell County spokesman James Stafford told the Telegram on Wednesday that larger shipments are expected in the future.

“The state has indicated that there are more shipments and larger shipments coming, and we are working off of that premise,” Stafford said. “We are currently developing a plan for the administration of second doses. My hope is that we will be able to outline that plan next week.”

In addition to the Sammons Community Center, Bell County is operating a vaccine center at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Approximately 25 to 30 individuals staff each site, according to the health district.

Residents can call the health district’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 254-933-5203 for further information.