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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Waco, McLennan County officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine

Area officials provided a regularly scheduled update on how the virus is impacting the county.

MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — Waco and McLennan County government and health leaders held their weekly press conference update on COVID-19 Wednesday.

The weekly update comes as the county has seen a surge in cases following the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Local officials have previously indicated that they are reaching hospital capacity levels with an influx of patients, but have still managed to accommodate patients in overflow areas.

"It's been pretty flat for a couple of days now, but flat means we have almost 100 COVID patients in our hospital which is almost half of our normal licensed beds," Dr. Brian Becker Chief Medical Officer for Ascension Providence said.

The city has begun to address vaccination questions as doses have slowly trickled into some area hospitals and healthcare providers to vaccinate individuals under the state's 1B category, in addition to anyone else left under 1A as vaccines are available.

According to the city's COVID-19 website, those who qualify under 1A and 1B can schedule vaccinations with available providers. Walk-up services and public vaccinations are not available at this time. 

A free vaccination clinic for eligible people in Phases 1A and 1B was scheduled to begin on Tuesday at the Waco Convention Center located at 100 Washington Ave. The clinic follows an announcement from the Texas Department of State Health Services as part of the State’s Vaccination Hub program.

While the vaccines do offer a silver lining, Dr. Brian Becker with Ascension Providence said we still have a couple of long months in front of us. He, along with other officials during the McLennan County's weekly news conference, encouraged people to keep doing basic tasks to stay safe like washing hands and social distancing. 

While we have seen many people roll up their sleeves, it does not mean they have immediate immunity.

"You are not immune for five weeks till after the first dose of vaccination. So, please do not miss the second dose, and please do not stop hand washing, social distancing and also do not gather into a larger crowd," said Dr. Umad Ahmad, Interim Chief Medical Officer with Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest.

For more information, visit the city's COVID-19 website.