BRYAN, Texas — What started as a conversation just a few weeks ago is now becoming a reality. The Brazos Center is preparing to become the county's vaccination hub facility.
"We knew what we wanted to do, we wanted to set up a facility to administer the vaccinations,” said Jim Stewart, the chief for the COVID-19 vaccination taskforce in Brazos County.
CHI St. Joseph Health has been selected as the vaccination hub by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Their staff will be the ones handling the vaccine administration.
The hospital is just one of 28 designated hubs for the vaccine in Texas.
“Right now, our hospitals are full we are beyond capacity," said Dr. Kia Parsi, the chief medical officer for St. Joseph Health. "We need to defeat this pandemic.”
St. Joseph Health received 1,200 doses for this week and expects to receive another 1,200 doses for next week. Health officials will use next week's doses as part of a "dry-run" at the Brazos Center.
“It’s going to take time to distribute them, but with this community clinic vaccine site, we feel like we’re taking the steps to start vaccinating larger populations," Parsi said.
Brazos County leaders and health officials hope to have the vaccination hub fully running by early February. Stewart is optimistic the state will be sending 1,000 doses a day by then.
"In Brazos County, we have right around 65,000 people [in group 1B]," Stewart said. "If we could poke 1,000 shots in their arms, that’s 65 days of vaccinations just on that group right there.”
The Brazos Center will have a few areas people will go through for the vaccination process.
There will be traffic management to help guide people in the parking lots and make sure they have an appointment for the day. Once patients get inside they will check in with a volunteer and fill out their information.
Then it is time to receive the vaccine in the Brazos Center ballroom. Staff said that is probably the quickest part of the process.
After patients will set up an appointment for their second dose and go wait for 15 minutes in observation.
"We’re going to have to have a qualified in crew in there to observe you and make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction, then out the door you go," Stewart said.
The vaccination site's process is subject to change as time goes on.
"We’re going to get it done, we’ve come a long way in two weeks," Stewart said.
People may not show up at the vaccination site without an appointment. For more registration information click HERE or dial the 2-1-1 line for assistance.