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Bell County officials: delivery of state-allocated COVID-19 vaccine delayed

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-17 18:08:06-05

Bell County Health officials say they were notified Sunday morning that their second shipment of COVID-19 vaccines might not arrive Monday morning as expected.

State officials confirmed this morning that they could not guarantee the delivery of the next 3,900 doses of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine on Monday morning, according to a Bell County news release.

As a result, Bell County officials are in the process of rescheduling those individuals who had Monday appointments.

Assuming the vaccines arrive no later than Tuesday, health officials have indicated all those with Monday appointments should be able to still receive their vaccines this week.

The rescheduling process is currently underway.

“Based on all of our prior communications with the State, we expected to receive this week’s shipment of 3,900 Pfizer vaccine doses Monday morning,” Dr. Amanda Chadwell, Director of the Bell County Public Health District said. “However, as we monitor the shipping information, it seems likely that it may not arrive until Tuesday.”

Chadwell says that the Public Health District has not received any explanation for the discrepancy, except to say that they have little control over shipping.

“We are learning that we may not be able to depend on these weekly shipments arriving on consistent days or at consistent times,” Chadwell said, “so we are examining ways in which we can schedule vaccination in the future to enable us to better anticipate and adapt to these inconsistencies.”

One operational change that is under consideration is to not operate the vaccine centers on Mondays.

This, along with other logistical adjustments, could better insure less disruption in vaccine center operations and scheduling going forward, according to James Stafford, Bell County's Public Information Officer.

For those individuals with vaccination appointments already scheduled for Monday, health officials are currently reaching out to them for rescheduling later in the week.

“While we do not normally accommodate walk-ins at our vaccination centers,” Chadwell said, “we will have all of these ‘Monday’ patients listed for their new days later this week.”

Here’s how it will work: those with appointments between 9:00 and 10:45 will be asked to go to their scheduled vaccine location sometime on Tuesdays. Those scheduled to get their shots between 11:00 and 12:45 p.m. are invited to go to their locations on Wednesday. Appointments between 1:00 and 2:45 p.m. on Monday have been moved to Thursday. Those between 3:00 and 4:45 p.m. Monday will not be vaccinated on Friday. Monday appointments between 5:00 and 6:45 p.m.will now be seen on Saturday. Those with appointments on Monday between 7:00 and 8:45 will have to wait until Sunday, January 25.

Despite this complication, Bell County Judge David Blackburn says that the county’s vaccine distribution has been a success.

“As I have said several times, this is an unprecedented logistical challenge,” Judge Blackburn said. “Never before in the history of the County, the State or the Nation, have we tried to inoculate so many people in so short a time.”

“While I’m sure this is not the last challenge we’ll face in the coming weeks and months,” Judge Blackburn said. “I am confident that we will continue to work efficiently and effectively with the supply that we are given.”

Stafford says Judge Blackburn’s confidence is based on the work that the county’s vaccination centers have already accomplished since opening Wednesday.

By the time the centers closed Saturday at 9:00 p.m., more than 3,300 doses had already been administered, according to Stafford.

“We were tasked with making 3,900 vaccinations,” Judge Blackburn said. “We will not only meet that goal, we’ll exceed it, but our ability to continue to meet that goal hinges on the supply we are given and the consistency and reliability of the supply chain going forward.”