KOUNTZE, Texas — As attendance at vaccination clinics in Southeast Texas wanes some officials are looking for ways to get keep putting more shots in more arms.
Hardin County will look at alternative ways to get people vaccinated if they keep seeing the low traffic at shot clinics county judge Wayne McDaniel told 12News on Monday.
Walk-in shot-seekers with no appointments were welcomed Monday afternoon at a shot clinic set up at Journey Community Church in Lumberton and will continue Tuesday.
A Facebook post from the Hardin County Office of Emergency Management on Monday night announced that walk-ins would be accepted again on Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Journey Community Church at 1534 Highway 96 South in Lumberton.
Walk-ins are available Tuesday to anyone, including non-residents, who are 18 or older.
Walk-ins are asked to download and fill out their forms ahead of time and bring them and a driver’s license and health insurance card to the clinic.
Just a few weeks ago it wasn't uncommon to find people waiting in long lines to get their covid-19 vaccine shots.
“It was kind of exciting, in the beginning, to see so many people want it and we were able to make that available to them,” Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel told 12News.
A few weeks later some vaccine clinics have gone from long lines of people with appointments to allowing walk-ups to get vaccinated.
”And now we have it available and not so many people are coming in,” McDaniel said of the state’s decision to open up vaccinations to all residents recently.
He believes long lines and trouble finding available shots in the beginning are partially behind the low number of attendance at our area vaccine hubs.
“For so long there weren't any vaccines available, so I think people just got kind of tired of looking for access got worn out with the whole process, Dr. Msonthi Levine told 12News on Monday.
Judge McDaniel says he thinks there are several factors in the slow down such as many in the area already being vaccinated, some waiting on the Johnson & Johnson shot and the out-of-town vaccine seekers that visited Southeast Texas shot clinics.
McDaniel says the goal is to get the crowd flow back up at the vaccine hubs so he asked the county’s health director to allow walk-in vaccinations.
Dr. Levine agrees with allowing walk-ins saying, ”I mean that's a win-win if you just let people know, ‘hey just walk in.’"
Judge McDaniel hopes to go from 62 appointments made on Monday back to a higher volume of shots closer to the 1500 per week the hub in Hardin County had been doing.
He says if numbers continue to be low there might not be a need for daily vaccine clinics but no final decisions have been made yet.