Over the past weeks, I have heard the concerns from the folks I represent about the supply, delivery and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. The demand for vaccines continues to surpass supplies delivered to providers. However, I'm told that every week more vaccine shipments are being sent to Texas. Since the vaccine rollout begun 7 weeks ago, the 12 counties that I represent have only received 5,900 total vaccines according to the DSHS website
; some of these counties and their communities have not even received enough doses for frontline healthcare workers. The state's decision makers have now pivoted from a dispersed vaccine distribution system (that was intended to reach health care workers) to a more centralized hub system. I believe the hub model is intended to better reach most of Texas' 29 million people, but it shortchanges rural communities at this time. I share the frustrations that so many of you feel about the vaccine allocation and have been in daily contact with the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas Department State Health Services (DSHS), the COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP
) (the decision makers for the current allocated models) and the Governor's Office pressing this serious issue. While I continue to advocate for more vaccines in Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher, Sutton counties, I encourage everyone to use the Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Availability Dashboard
to track when doses are made available near you. This dashboard lets you see where vaccines hubs are located, availability of the vaccine, and the provider contact information. Don't hesitate to call providers who are listed as having the vaccine and sign up for a waitlist - doesn't hurt to be on multiple! Also, I suggest contacting your physician and let them know you're interested in the vaccine. Some medical providers have the opportunity to refer patients to other areas when vaccines become available.
My staff and I are doing everything we can to champion for communities who have been shortchanged and overlooked during these 7 weeks of the vaccine rollout. I recently advocated for the rollout of Mobile Vaccine Units
for underserved rural areas of Texas and I am glad to report that a pilot program has been approved and is already being rolled out to five counties in Texas - including Real county. As we move forward, it is vital that we continue to work together to be a loud voice for our part of Texas. Be patient but be persistent.