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Free bus rides available to Bell County vaccination sites

Free bus rides are available to Bell County’s three COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Free bus rides are available to Bell County’s three COVID-19 vaccination sites.(Rosemond Crown)
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST
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BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) -- Bell County has partnered with Hill Country Transportation district to offer bus rides to the county’s three vaccine locations.

The HOP will add feeder routes to existing routes.

This is one of the solutions the county is implementing to reduce limitations for people, especially the elderly, seeking to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The most prominent limitations the elderly have faced, according to the Central Texas Area Agency on Aging, is a lack of access to computers to sign up for vaccine appointments.

“In the smaller counties they have more of a direct phone line. It’s neighbor helping neighbor and bringing your neighbor to the place where they can get a shot. That type of ability for a smaller community makes it easier for the seniors to get access,” said George Losoya, the director of the Central Texas Area Agency on Aging

Bell County does not have a phone bank system for residents to make appointments.

The city originally had a phone bank but closed it because the number of calls reportedly overwhelmed the system, Bell County public information officer James Stafford said.

The county recently revised its online system.

It now only opens the online portal for new appointments at midnight Tuesday morning each week.

Irene Andrews, a resident of Bell County, has already been vaccinated.

However, she stayed up until midnight when the county vaccine portal opened to sign up seven elderly people who otherwise would have no access to register themselves.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Andrews said. “We got their names, email address phone number. That’s all you need and some of them didn’t even have an email address and we realized there’s another piece of the puzzle.”

The Central Texas Area Agency on Aging says it’s considering solution that will involve partnering with organizations that already help the elderly--like Meals on Wheels-- the bring the vaccines to the elderly residents who need it most.

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