Experts hope more providers will get their hands on vaccines as new option becomes available

Posted at 6:53 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 19:53:56-05

BELL COUNTY, TX — Do you qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine, but can’t seem to get your hands on one? Chances are you’re not alone.

However, with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine being shipped across the country Monday, it may become more accessible to Central Texans.

Up until this moment, public health districts have been at the helm of the coronavirus.

Employees have been updating community dashboards, organizing vaccine clinics and getting shots into Texans arms, just to name a few tasks.

“That's what we do is give shots, we do mass vaccination clinics,” Kelly Craine with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said. “This is something we work on every year. So, you know, it's part of what we do as that safety net.”

Now that four million doses of the new vaccine are on delivery trucks, Craine hopes more providers will have their chance to get some.

“This is an entire community effort, so to have more providers on board that they can offer that is going to be a tremendous relief to the entire community,” she said. “Yes, to the health district, but to everyone that is waiting.”

She explained that she was unsure if they’ll receive any Johnson & Johnson doses at all, but the possibility of more options for the public to choose where they get their shot is a step toward herd immunity.

“Getting it into the local providers, again, it's access, it's access, access, access,” Amy Mersiovsky, the director of nursing at Texas A&M Central Texas reiterated. “The more places that have the vaccine available, the more people we can provide it to.”

She also explained that having someone you trust with your health and talking the vaccine over with them might make folks feel more comfortable getting the shot.

It did with her.

“I didn't have any problems, but I felt better,” she confessed. “I'm a nurse, I felt better getting that input from my physician.”

So, at the end of the day, receiving more vaccines means they’ll be easier for our community to access.

”The less we'll have to worry about these really long, extended drive throughs and long all day clinics, we'll be able to give people more options on time, we'll have more options on our staff and again, it'll just make everything easier,” Craine said.

According to Johnson & Johnson’s website, the company plans to distribute 100 million doses in the first half of 2021.