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Central Texans struggle to get vaccinated under Phase 1B

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jan 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-03 23:19:51-05

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas — Earlier this week, the Texas State Department of Health and Human Services announced the Lone Star State was moving into Phase 1B of its distribution plan, but several who qualify say they cannot find anyone actually able to give it to them.

One of them, Rose Waller of Harker Heights, says she has seen the dangers of COVID-19 first-hand.

"I'm a bit anxious and I'm sure there are others like me, other boomers that are just frantic and don't know what to do," Waller said.

Waller lost her husband, Mark, to COVID-19 earlier on in the pandemic. Rose was only allowed to communicate with him over video chat in his final days.

"I'm sent home and it's a brand new ballgame. 48 years, I've lived with this man," Waller said.

So, when Governor Greg Abbott announced Texans over the age of 65 would qualify for the vaccine under Phase 1B of the state's distribution plan, Waller knew she had to get it.

"So many people are suffering with this, and there's a light at the end of the tunnel with this vaccine," she said. "Then you run into all the roadblocks with that."

Waller called her physician at Baylor, Scott and White, her local HEB pharmacy and several other distributors across Bell County. However, no one was offering the vaccine to people in her age group.

"My kids call me daily," Waller said. "What have you found out? How soon, mom? How soon? And I can't tell them anything."

According to Texas DSHS, 12 different hospitals and pharmacies in Bell County have received doses of the vaccine.

But because of their limited supply, they are not prepared to move to Phase 1B along with the rest of the state.

For example, the HEB in Harker Heights was only given 100 doses of the vaccine.

As a result, people like Waller are being asked to wait patiently, without any clear sign as to when they might be able to get vaccinated.

"It's been a pretty horrific experience and just the isolation of not being able to be with your family," Waller said.

An HEB spokesperson said they are still waiting for direction from the state regarding when they may receive more doses of the vaccine before making any plans to move forward into Phase 1B.