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Bell County vaccines at risk of expiring, officials initiate emergency distribution to 3 school districts

Posted at 10:13 AM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 11:19:25-05

Bell County is initiating emergency vaccination distribution for their existing vaccination waitlist, a local health care provider, and Bell County's three largest school districts due to doses being at risk of expiring.

Due to the closures of Bell County vaccination centers on Thursday and Friday and the potential for more closures next week, Bell County health leaders have determined that the county has more doses at risk of expiring Monday than it has the capacity to distribute through its vaccination centers.

Approximately 2,334 doses were determined to be in danger of expiring by midnight Tuesday, according to Bell County officials.

Officials said several courses of action are being taken to ensure that none of thawed vaccines are wasted.

Those courses of action include using the existing vaccination waitlist, contacting a local healthcare provider, and engaging Bell County’s three largest school districts.

“Our first course of action was to determine the maximum number of new appointments we could add to our first dose sites on Saturday,” Bell County Judge David Blackburn said. “We were able to quickly fill those slots by reaching out directly to individuals on our waitlist.”

The Bell County Public Health District also contacted Cedar Crest Hospital in Belton to determine if the hospital had vaccinated all its staff and patients.

Cedar Crest advised they had not and would be willing to set up an emergency vaccine site to vaccinate their staff and patients.

“For the remaining doses, we focused on local groups that would both be able to mobilize quickly, scale to the numbers that were needed on short notice, and had internal medical staff capable of administering the doses,” Judge Blackburn said. “To that end, we have worked with Bell County’s three largest school districts to organize vaccine drives for their teachers and staff members.”

Killeen ISD, Belton ISD, and Temple ISD each agreed to receive and administer 325 doses and will be hosting vaccine sites on Saturday, according to officials.

According to a an email received by the Killeen Educators Association, Killeen ISD will offer their transpiration department an opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Belton ISD said Health Services staff will be administering COVID-19 vaccinations to district employees on Feb. 13, at the Pittenger Fine Arts Center.

"The Bell County Public Health District would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to Cedar Crest Hospital, Killeen ISD, Belton ISD, and Temple ISD for stepping up during this weather event and assisting the District in utilizing vaccines that would have otherwise been wasted," a Bell County spokesman said.