BRYAN, TEXAS — Last week, Texas health officials announced residents 50 years of age and older were eligible to receive their COVID-19 shot starting Monday, March 15.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, death certificate data collected over the course of the pandemic, shows 93% of Texas fatalities directly caused by COVID-19 are in people 50 years old and older, so stretching vaccination efforts to this group is crucially-needed.
"My group, the silver-haired folks, a good percentage of them have come through the hub and been vaccinated either with us, with pharmacies, or with Scott and White. We have made really good progress with that and it was time to start opening it up to more people," Chief Jim Stewart, the leader of the COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force in Brazos County said.
Expanding vaccination efforts to individuals who are at least 50 years old will protect a very vulnerable group. Chief Stewart says, implementing a drive-thru and now their website, has really helped tremendously.
"The website went live this past week and worked very very well. The first day we opened it up for appointments, it worked flawlessly, and then when we opened it up Friday it crashed and it crashed because 58,000 hits were received on it within the first 17 minutes," Chief Stewart added.
Chief says, the issue has been addressed and resolved. He also wants to stress... not everyone has to hop on exactly at 10 A.M.
"Wait until 10:30... wait until 11 o'clock...You will get an appointment... Just be patient," He added.
Monday, the Brazos County Health District reported 117 news cases, 70% of those new cases are within the 18-24 age group, people who Chief Stewart says, are less likely to end up in the hospital.
"Worsen part about the younger group is hanging out with folks like me and taking the COVID-19 to the older population, so the sooner that we can get the older population protected, the less likely the younger group would introduce it to the older population," Chief Stewart added.
Chief Stewart says, they are approaching 50,000 doses administered and they hope to keep putting doses in the arms of eligible residents that want one.
"Keep in mind, about 30% is not going to take the vaccine for various reasons. Let's say we are using a number of 200,000... 30% are not going to take it, which leaves us with 140,000 that will take it... We have gotten 50,000 vaccinated... so we are not too far from 50%," Chief Stewart added.
Chief Stewart says, President Biden, advised the states that he would like to see everybody eligible by May 1st and Chief Stewart says, they look to accommodate that.