By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
The COVID-19 vaccine is limited to at-risk groups, but appointments fill up quickly across Texas. What more can Wacoans and Baylor students who are eligible do to acquire the vaccine quickly?
Phase 1A and 1B are in effect right now, meaning front-line healthcare workers, residents at long-term care facilities and people age 65 and older, or people age 16 and older with a chronic illness.
Kelly Craine, the communications lead for Waco’s Health District, said people who are eligible for the vaccine should get on the Waco McLennan County Public Health District waiting list.
“For our waitlist, you do not need to call for daily cancellations,” Craine said. “We contact people to schedule appointments. We will not take anyone without an appointment. There are more providers in McLennan County offering the vaccine … Ascension Providence, CVS, HEB and Walgreens have the vaccine in our area.”
Medical Director at Baylor Dr. Sharon Stern said to try and get on as many waiting lists as possible when eligible.
“It does not hurt to call and ask if they ever call people to fill slots that others did not show up for,” Stern said. “I believe, however, that most of our students who have no risk factors should continue being careful with health protective behaviors: masking, social distancing, hand washing, etc., and they will get the call or email when the vaccine is available for them to get.”
Stern said students should also fill out the Baylor interest form for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are ordering vaccines every week,” Stern said. “We only find out a day or two prior to receiving a shipment of vaccines. This is one reason we are trying to have all plans in place for larger vaccine clinics, so that we can stand it up quickly. I would also remind people who have filled out our vaccine interest form, or for that matter, any waitlist, to be very aware of emails and check several times a day so as not to miss an important communication about the vaccine. We will be able to get the vaccine soon, but it is difficult to be patient.”
Stern said the vaccine should be available to the general public in late spring and early summer.
“It is very difficult to know exactly when we will move on, but it will be when we have vaccinated most all of the 1A and 1B folks who want to get the vaccine,” Stern said. “This is a decision that is made on a state level; we follow what they say.”