LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Some county officials from within the South Plains Public Health District are planning to bring their voices together with a goal of getting the attention of state officials deciding where COVID-19 vaccines are sent.
“We just had a Zoom call with some other surrounding county officials, working towards maybe joining together so that we can serve more of the people in our South Plains, west Texas community,” Executive Director Zachary Holbrooks said. “A bit more voices sometimes move that needle a little bit, as far as receiving vaccines for these rural counties. If you’re a rural county, you’ve got to fight for everything. You don’t want to be forgotten, because you’re just out in a smaller town, smaller county with fewer people.”
The South Plains Public Health District serves Gaines, Yoakum, Terry and Dawson County. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, those counties have only a few hundred residents that have had one dose of a vaccine.
Holbrooks said the District had just a few hundred doses of the Moderna vaccine between those received and some believed to be on the way. Those received had been given to first responders and eligible citizens quickly. The next allotment is expected to be used as a second dose.
“I believe we’ll receive a larger shipment or larger allotment perhaps in February,” Holbrooks told KCBD “So, all we can do is send the paperwork in and wait for the State to let us know when we get our next allotment.”
The team of county officials, if it were to come together, would seek the District be placed on the state’s weekly allocation lists that have sometimes included those counties’ health clinics and hospitals.
“What we would probably do is set up a Point of Dispensing, a POD, for those who are interested in getting the vaccine,” Holbrooks said. “We’ve already got several lists working in place for people who want a vaccine. We put them on a waiting list.”
Holbrooks tells KCBD that vaccinating people is nothing new to the District but this scale is unprecedented in modern times. However, they’ve prepared through tabletop exercises with the DSHS.
“We’ve game planned it,” Holbrooks said. “We can certainly handle a large number of people per day with a vaccine. As long as we have the vaccine, we’ve got the nurses to put it in.”
At this time, Holbrooks asks citizens to contact their local clinic to be placed on a list to receive a call when a dose is available for them.