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Vaccine supply quickly distributed in rural county

Posted at 7:35 PM, Dec 30, 2020

REFUGIO, Texas — Refugio County held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Wednesday, and the response was -- in the words of the local hospital's leader -- "overwhelming."

"I believe today, if I had a thousand doses, I could have given out a thousand doses,” Refugio County Memorial Hospital District CEO Hoss Whitt said.

The State of Texas allocated only 300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in its first shipment to Refugio County.

That shipment came in last Wednesday, and by yesterday the county had vaccinated 150 hospital workers and first responders.

This morning's clinic was for county residents who are 65-years-old and older, and they showed up in droves.

"We opened the gates at seven o’clock," Whitt said of the clinic they held at the Refugio County Community Center. "Shortly after eight we had all 150 doses allotted, and traffic was still backed up probably a mile down the road. So we turned away at least as many as we gave.”

Whitt hopes the success of today's clinic will encourage the state to send more doses, so the next time he holds a clinic, he won't have turn away as many people.

Whitt estimates that 40-percent of hospital workers and first responders chose not to receive the vaccine, but he's hopeful that everyone will get the shot in time.

“We all want to get back to normalcy, and the path to normalcy is through the vaccine," he said. "It’s the only way we’re going to get back to normalcy."

A couple of people KRIS 6 News spoke to plan to get the vaccine.

A 66-year-old Refugio resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, didn't know about this morning's clinic but looks forward to the next one.

“Oh yeah, I’ll probably be the first one in there," he said.

A 25-year-old Refugio resident, who isn't yet eligible to receive the vaccine because of supply-related age restrictions, also plans to get the vaccine when it's his turn.

“When it comes around, when we get to the younger crowd, most likely I’ll take it," Nicolas Jaramillo said.