BELL COUNTY, TX — Millions of people across the country have been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine for months now, and many have already received at least the first dose.
Starting Monday, all adults in Texas, over the age of 16, will be eligible to get a vaccine if they choose to.
It's news Bell County officials weren’t expecting quite yet.
”You know I think that a lot of people have been anticipating this. I think that it has come a little sooner than some people expected.” said James Stafford, Bell Co. Public Information Officer.
The new eligibility decision did come sooner than expected, but medical professionals couldn’t be more excited.
”Now that these constraints are over it’s very exciting because now it can be family and friends and we don’t have to take into consideration age or comorbidities,” said Thomas Wilhite, Nurse and Director of Clinical Informatics, Adventhealth in Killeen.
The predicted increase in demand for the vaccine is something Bell County officials say they are preparing for.
”The commissioners voted unanimously to enter into a partnership with Curative which is an outside provider that will come in, organize and operate large scale vaccinations sites for us,” said Stafford.
The idea of more people being eligible is exciting but medical professionals expect to run into a larger version of a problem they’re are already facing.
”Right now our biggest thing is that people are signing up for appointments but, come appointment time they don’t show up. So, then we have to scramble and call people on a list and say, hey are you in the area. We can get you this shot right now,” said Wilhite.
Both county and hospital officials are confident that they will be able vaccinate anyone who chooses to receive the shot.
Health officials are urging anyone that has not received a vaccine to schedule an appointment for one as soon as possible.
They also say anyone who is hesitant should contact their primary care physician.