BELTON, Texas — The Bell County Public Health District established a new waitlist Tuesday designed to ensure no dose of its supply of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine goes to waste.
Health district officials said the waitlist is separate from the county's appointment system, which as of Tuesday was completely booked.
The new list qualifies people to be contacted about unused doses that would otherwise expire when a vaccination center closes, according to the health district.
“We will simply go down the list and try to find individuals who can be at the vaccine center within a certain amount of time,” Bell County Judge David Blackburn said. “The idea is to continue the process of not wasting any vaccines, as, once a vial is opened, we only have a certain amount of time to get that vaccine into an arm and this waitlist will help ensure that we continue to get that done.”
Health officials said as the centers approach the end of the day, there may be between 1 and 12 unclaimed vaccine doses. Until now, the doses were given to a list of direct-care providers managed by the health district.
The health district said people should continue to try to make a vaccination appointment as they become available. The new waitlist does not get someone on the appointment list.
“Those appointments will undoubtedly fill up quickly, as we continue to anticipate that supply will not meet demand and that is not just at the local level," Blackburn said. "That is at the state level and at the national level, so please continue to be both patient and vigilant.”
As with making appointments, in order to be included on the new waitlist, residents are required to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under the current 1A or 1B guidelines from Texas Department of State Health Services.