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Bee County COVID-19 Coalition eager to increase vaccinations

Bee County Vaccine Preparedness.jpg
Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 23:25:23-04

It was an announcement that brought on excitement to a tight-knit group of Bee County officials — the Texas Department of State Health Services stating COVID-19 vaccinations will no longer be limited to a select set of the public, but rather, all adults.

The change is set to go into effect Monday, March 29, with DSHS adding that vaccine supplies will also be increasing as a result.

“We are excited,” said Mike Willow, Bee County’s COVID Response Coordinator. “We’re definitely in it to win the thing.”

Willow and others members of the Bee County COVID-19 Coalition tout that they have since administered more than 40,000 vaccines.

CHRISTUS Spohn Beeville is also part of the coalition. The hospital’s president, Genifer Rucker, adds that 30 percent of Bee County residents have received a vaccine. Those who are 65 and older — 56 percent.

Bee County also has two vaccination hubs. In addition to CHRISTUS Spohn Beeville, Community Action Corporation of South Texas (CACOST) has also been administering vaccines at the Bee County Expo Center.

Although mornings can get busy at Spohn — toward the afternoon — the size soon diminishes.

Willow said there is some reluctance from the community.

“When it hits really close to home, people wake up and come to get the vaccine,” he said. “We’re here for the people. Our main goal his to get vaccine in the arms. Now that they opened up the floodgates, w’ell welcome it. We have the vaccine on hand — we could take care of it.”

Rucker said the hospital has been consistently receiving 2,340 first doses a week.

“It’s not an exorbitant amount,” Willow said. “(But) we think we can do more.”

As a result — Texans from Bexar County and other cities farther away have been making the trip to Beeville. Richard Cantu Jr., Beeville Police Department assistant chief said he and fellow officers have seen some coming as far as Maryland, California and Colorado to name a few.

“Basically the entire United States come here to get the COVID-19 vaccine — the first and the second dosage,” Cantu said, adding that the line of bumper-to-bumper traffic of those waiting to get a vaccine can sometimes go outside Beeville city limits. “We’d like to think ourselves as a super hub and will welcome anybody. And I think what you’re going to experience here at our hub is very satisfying.”

Those interested in registering for a vaccine in Bee County can find more information at CHRISTUS Spohn’s website.