Getting the Covid-19 Vaccine: Waco Edition

     Another COVID-19 semester rolls around and with it comes a new lingering stress: When is the vaccine available and where can one get it? This is a question that sits in the minds of all college students, who are constantly in fear of contracting the virus and having to quarantine. Baylor has taken significant precautions to combat the threat of COVID-19 through weekly testing, enforced mask wearing, and socially distanced classrooms. As the pandemic continues to be a present part of our lives, we have to remind ourselves to stay vigilant, while actively staying informed. 

 

1. Where to go?  

     The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is currently dispensing COVID-19 vaccines to the general public. Currently, the waitlist for receiving a vaccine is around 30,000 people, but you can sign up for an appointment at https://covidwaco.com/

     CVS Health will start to distribute around 38,000 doses of the vaccine starting February 11th. This is due to the federal government deciding to supply the vaccine to pharmacies in 11 Texas communities. While we do not yet know which CVS stores in Waco will hold the vaccines, CVS health is currently devising phone systems and websites to allow you to book a time slot to receive your vaccine with registration that opens on February 9th. To register, visit CVS.com or call 800-746-7287. 

     If you are willing to delve outside the perimeter of Waco, a variety of Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will start to offer free COVID-19 vaccines in Marlin, Gatesville, Mexia, and Corsicana. To find more information, visit www.walmart.com/covidvaccine  or www.samsclub.com/covid. However, these appointments are specifically for people who fit the phase 1A (those working in the medical field and/or nursing home patients) and phase 1B (people over the age of 65 and those with chronic illnesses) descriptions.

 

2. Who is eligible?

     Currently, those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination have to fit the guidelines of Texas Phase 1A or Texas Phase 1B. The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District  (https://covidwaco.com/vaccine-distribution/) defines Texas Phase 1A to include: 

  • Workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19. This includes:

  • Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)

  • Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation services

  • Others having direct contact with patients or infectious materials

  • Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents. This includes direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state supported living centers

  • Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial, food service staff

  • EMS providers who engage in 911 emergency services

  • Home health care workers, including hospice care

  • Residents of long-term care facilities

  • Staff in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients. Such as but not limited to:

  • Physicians, nurses, and other support staff (includes custodial staff, etc.)

  • Clinical staff providing diagnostic, laboratory, and/or rehabilitation services

  • Healthcare workers in corrections and detention facilities

  • Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinic

  • Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID

  • Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in administration of COVID testing and vaccinations

  • Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19. Includes:

  • Funeral home workers who have direct contact with decedents

  • Medical examiners and other medical certifiers

  • School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers

 The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (https://covidwaco.com/vaccine-distribution/) defines Texas Phase 1B to include: 

  • People 65 years of age and older

  • People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as but not limited to:

  • Cancer

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies

  • Solid organ transplantation

  • Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle cell disease

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

 

3. What to Expect after Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

     When you receive the vaccine you can expect minor side effects - which is a positive sign that your body is building up protection to the virus. When you first get the shot, your arm may feel a slight pain or swelling sensation. Throughout the rest of your body, you may experience: fever, chills, fatigue, headaches for around 24-48 hours. If you are feeling extreme pain or discomfort, you can ask your doctor for over the counter medicine such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen. Additionally, to reduce pain in your arm, you can apply a cool washcloth over the shot area or exercise your arm to get blood flowing. To reduce the discomfort of a fever, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. 

 

4. What is Baylor’s Vaccine Supply? 

     As schools, hospitals, and pharmacies across America are slowly starting to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Baylor has been a part of this movement. Having received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccination during our most recent Christmas break, Baylor has distributed these doses to Baylor personnel that fit the description of the Texas Phase 1A such as medical personnel, School of Nursing faculty, and students who work in hospital settings. Unfortunately, Baylor University does not currently have additional doses of the vaccine, but if Baylor does receive more doses you must fill out the COVID-19 Vaccination Interest Form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=NfvSImolm0W89Nwj1C3ApDUpMP8g7EJMmEPGwY6SkGJUNktWMVZZTE8xRk9FTzU0MVg1NDNISzdRQyQlQCN0PWcu

 

     As vaccinations are rolling out across Waco and Texas combined, we must stay vigilant when it comes to protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19. By continuing to wear our masks and socially distance we are actively being a part of the solution. Look at the above websites to find a vaccine option that works for you. If you aren’t a part of Texas Phase 1A or 1B, make sure to spread the news about the upcoming vaccine dispersion. Our society will be able to get through this rough patch with a little faith in each other!