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School districts vaccinate hundreds after Bell County closes vaccination centers due to Arctic blast

Posted at 8:41 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 21:41:27-05

BELTON, TX — In a last-minute effort to distribute every dose of its Pfizer vaccine, Bell County gave three local school districts 325 vaccines after the harsh weather shut down some of the county’s vaccination centers.

The county said the vaccines would expire on Tuesday.

For people like Kari Norman, an instructional coach and adjusting coordinator at Belton ISD, this vaccine means more than just a poke of a needle.

“It means I get to reduce my stress load a little bit, thinking about protecting my son and just being able to be reliable at work,” she explained. “I can go to work and I’m safe.”

Her 5-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and since a COVID-19 vaccine was approved she said she joined every waitlist in order to receive one.

”For this to happen like right in the middle of his treatment is just, you know, hard,” she said, talking about her son and his condition. “It’s hard to think that it wouldn’t be the cancer that hurt him, it would be something like this.”

Today, Norman and over 300 other Belton ISD faculty members received some good news, and their first doses of the vaccine.

“It was just such a gift last night to see that email come through,” Allison Cope, a teacher at Lake Belton High school said. “And to know that not only are we protecting ourselves, but protecting our kids and getting the chance to maybe even see our families again.”

Organizing a COVID-19 vaccination clinic was not something the district was planning on doing on the cold Saturday, but when Bell County had to shut down some of its vaccination centers and prepare to close them in the future due to the Arctic blast, they had to act fast to ensure the 2,334 doses would not be wasted.

The county’s next line of action? To call the Cedar Crest Hospital in Belton, Temple ISD, Killeen ISD and of course, Belton ISD, hoping they would have the necessary resources and need to distribute the vaccines.

“We contacted the three largest school districts in our area, and said 'could you put together a drive this weekend for your teachers or staff?'” James Stafford with the county said. “All three of them jumped at the opportunity.”

While some may say teachers are overdue to be vaccinated, Mrs. Norman believed the timing was meant to be.

”I think just being patient and just waiting, God always delivers, so inclement weather? I’ll take it,” she exclaimed.