BRYAN, TEXAS — What was once a supply issue, has quickly turned into a demand issue and that's the problem many vaccination leaders are seeing with COVID-19 vaccination efforts, especially in Brazos County.
The demand for vaccinations in Brazos County are continuing to decline and have been over the last several weeks. Last week, there weren't enough arms coming through the hub to meet doses allocated for.
"I think we were right over 800 doses.... Last Tuesday, we opened it to up walk ins and we only had 78 walk-ins. The week before that we had a little over 200 walk ins," Chief Stewart, the COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force Leader in Brazos County said.
Not only has the request for appointments gone down, but so have the number of walk-ins, significantly.
"As of 24 hours ago... Of the doses we have on our website. Only 242 appointments have been made (this upcoming week)," Chief Stewart added.
Discussions are being had to see about shutting the hub down a little for first-doses earlier than originally planned.
"I'm pretty sure that next week.. The week start with the 3rd of May will be our last week of 1st doses," Chief Stewart added.
Earlier in vaccination efforts, senior citizens took the hub by storm, and with each new eligible age group, surges in vaccinations have been seen, but everything is slowly tapering off and Chief says, for a multitude of reasons.
"I think there is a built-in resistance to being vaccinated by a goodly amount of folks in the Brazos Valley... that's number one. Number two is, the folks that were most concerned, my peer group, that market has been penetrated, we satisfied them, so there's not that pent-up demand among those 50+ and I think there's a certain level of apathy out there," Chief Stewart said. "Any given year, flu vaccines are made available, but there's a whole lot of people that don't get vaccinated for the flu every year. I think we are kinda of dealing with the same thing here. The state has opened back up, the cases are declining, hospitals are not overloaded with patients, so I think there is some reluctance on people's part because they don't feel like it's really necessary.
Last week, the hub administered 866 1st doses with 78 walk-ins on Tuesday. This coming Tuesday they are hoping to push 1,000 doses, the number of appointments they slotted for.
".....when you and I first started talking, it was people that looked like me... those senior citizens.. where there was a pent-up demand for the vaccination and they just kind of blew up our operation and that really ran for the first 6 weeks. Then each time as we opened up to an additional age group there would be a big surge, but it dropped off very very quickly and that's what we are seeing today."
Chief Stewart says after they stop administering first-doses, the Brazos County vaccination hub will still be in operation for atleast 30-42 days administering 2nd doses.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, in Brazos County almost 42 percent of people aged 16 and up have been vaccinated with at least one dose and almost 27 percent are fully vaccinated. Of Texans 65 and over with atleast one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is almost 83 percent and nearly 69% are fully vaccinated.