KOUNTZE, Texas — More than 900 people in Southeast Texas have already received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine according to new data from the state.
Smaller counties began receiving the first shipments of the Moderna vaccine last week.
Counties are now facing pressure to speed things up after a letter was issued from the Texas Department of State Health Services. It urged entities with the vaccine to speed up the administration.
About 31 percent of the vaccines that have been distributed have been put to use. That state is still asking that providers pick up the speed, saying 'every day a vaccine sits on the shelf is another day that prolongs the pandemic.'
Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel said four pharmacies have already been given their doses.
"Each Brookshire Brothers in Hardin County has received their doses. 400 each," McDaniel said.
Hardin County received 1,600 doses, 200 were given to Orange County, Jasper County received 800 and Chambers County has 1,000.
Samantha Humphrey in Chambers County said there are some community members waiting eagerly to get the shot.
"We're getting a lot of calls and Facebook messages of people wanting to get vaccinated," Humphrey said. "But it's just a waiting game right now because the supply is so finite."
Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said they hope to start vaccinating their qualified residents sometime this week.
According to the latest date from the DSHS dashboard, over 300,000 of those distributed vaccines haven't been used.
A letter issued by DSHS urged vaccination sites to add timeliness and a sense of urgency to vaccination planning, saying there may be unnecessary delays in administering the vaccines.
In Hardin County, as they work through vaccinating their tier one resident, Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel is also trying to look ahead.
"I can't guarantee that it'll be February, but my goal is that maybe sometime in February that we're able to start vaccinating our general population. That's what I'm hoping for," McDaniel said.
DSHS said there is no need to ensure all of the phase 1A group has been vaccinated to move onto 1B, which could speed up the process for smaller counties.
If you do fall into phase 1A or 1B, go ahead and call your local pharmacy to try to set up an appointment. You will be required to provide ID letting them know what profession you are in.