Why get vaccinated?
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like wearing masks and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC's recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. (Source: CDC)
What is our local situation?
- Currently (January 2021), there is a limited supply of the vaccine in our area and the priority is for 1A & 1B distribution.
- Vaccinations are currently scheduled by available providers, and appointment only. Walk-up services are not available.
- Nursing homes have separate arrangements with vaccine providers.
- Public vaccination clinics are being planned for the future, when the supply becomes available.
How do the vaccination phases work?
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) manages the statewide distribution to local health providers including public health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. As these entities receive their allocations, they vaccinate residents based on a tiered system of eligibility criteria outlined by federal and state authorities. As production and national distribution continues, we expect wider availability of the vaccine, but until then Texas is adhering to this tiered schedule.
Who can be vaccinated now?
If you fall into Phases 1A or 1B, you can be vaccinated now pending availability.
How can I be vaccinated?
This depends on vaccine availability and scheduling of the provider you choose.
If you are a front-line healthcare worker, first or last responder, a resident of a long-term care facility, or another direct care staff person (Phase 1A), contact a local vaccine provider to schedule an appointment.
If you think you might be a member of a prioritized vulnerable health population (Phase 1B) with one of the conditions listed on the distribution page, call one of the vaccine providers to find out about their vaccine supply and schedule an appointment.
Please understand that because of limited supply, some providers may have to waitlist callers due to inventory being exhausted weekly.
Where can I receive a vaccine?
DSHS reports that vaccines have been distributed to health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics and will continue to be delivered to providers each week. Currently, the following providers have received vaccine allocations.
We suggest calling the providers for their availability and/or an appointment as the information changes so quickly. Have patience.
How do nursing home residents get vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with CVS and Walgreens to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These retail pharmacy providers are managing logistics directly with nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Waco-McLennan County.
Why don’t McLennan County providers (and the Health District) have more vaccines?
The Texas Department of State Health Services determines the number of doses and distribution schedule to vaccine provider locations, and due to the limited supply of vaccines some providers deplete their weekly allocations before meeting all of the local demand.
What are realistic expectations in this situation?
Please have patience. New processes require patience and flexibility. City of Waco leaders along with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and other health providers are making plans to launch public vaccination clinics in the future as supplies become more available.
This is a rapidly-evolving situation and our community leaders are following guidance from federal and state authorities. Sometimes this guidance changes week to week and day to day so our response requires flexibility and patience. We anticipate it will take several months to vaccinate McLennan County.
Until then, please remember:
- Wear your mask, covering mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands, frequently, with soap, and warm water for 20 seconds.
- Watch your distance, striving to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet whenever possible.
Where can I find out more?
The Texas Department of Health Services (DSHS) publishes a weekly vaccine allocation update that lists the name, address, and number of doses allocated to each vaccine providers for the given week. They have also provided a searchable map showing each site that has received vaccine allocations. You can search by City, County, Zip Code, or personal address to find vaccine provider locations near you.