WACO, TX— The McLennan County Public Health District was finally able to start distributing it’s 200 doses of the Maderna vaccine Monday after getting those doses last week. Other agencies were able to start giving out the new vaccine as well.
Health District Spokeswoman Kelly Craine told 6 News the district was thrilled to finally take proactive steps against the virus instead of constantly warning a tired public.
“It was a wonderful day. I’ve had to talk to people about doom and gloom since March and now I get to talk about something happy. Something hopeful,” Craine said. “We can do something to stop it before it happens. I’m just thrilled.”
Craine said the health district vaccinated 38 home health care workers today. She said the health district would also serve EMS personnel and firefighters that work directly with hospital-related calls.
At the same time, The Waco Center for Youth, which provides psychiatric residential treatment to adolescents with severe emotional or behavioral disorders, was able to start treating its staff Monday after the vaccine arrived. Waco Center for Youth Superintendent Chuck Russell said the vaccine provides much-needed safety for its staff and clients.
“With or without the vaccine our staff shows up every day. This just gets us a little bit closer to the normal that we are used to,” Russell said. “When it showed up today we were pretty excited about that.”
Russell said the Waco Center for Youth has 190 staff members that will be able to get the vaccine, though it is not mandatory for employees.
Local health officials are also still worried about another spike of cases during the holiday season. Craine said 951 people signed up for free COVID-19 testing in Waco on Monday. In the last McLennan County Covid-19 press conference, chief medical officers for both Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest and Ascension Providence said their hospitals were at or over capacity. Ascension Providence had been sent 30 more nurses by FEMA after requesting help.
Craine said the public needs to do their part by not spreading the virus on New Year’s Eve or those hospitals could become overwhelmed. She urged the community to follow safety protocols for just a little longer a larger vaccine rollout is just around the corner.
“Right now, we really need to stay firm and do what we need to do. Stay home, and don’t spread the virus. Protect yourself and protect your family,” Craine said. “Hope is on the way. We really are turning a corner.”