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State creates mobile vaccine pilot program for rural counties

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
COVID vaccine

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) recently announced the creation of the State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination efforts in underserved areas of Texas.

As part of this pilot program, state mobile vaccination teams made up of Texas National Guard personnel will be deployed to five rural Texas counties — DeWitt, Marion, Real, Sherman, and Starr — to administer vaccinations to qualified Texans in those communities. Texas National Guard teams are prepared to begin vaccinations on Thursday and the Texas Division of Emergency Management is actively working with county officials to schedule their deployment.

“The State Mobile Vaccine Pilot Program will help us ramp up vaccination efforts among homebound Texans, Texans 65 years of age or older, and among communities in need,” said Governor Abbott. “I thank TDEM, the Texas National Guard, as well as our participating city and county officials for working together on this important project. We will continue to develop strategies to vaccinate more Texans and keep our communities safe.”

The announcement comes as the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department awaits word of when it will receive doses of the vaccine for the group known as 1B, which includes those ages 65 and older and with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The health department requested 1,000 doses from the state earlier this week but won't know until Sunday or Monday whether any doses will be sent to the Brown County, Health Administrator Lisa Dick said.

As of Wednesday, Brown County had 418 active COVID cases with 19 hospitalizations. The health department received a report of two deaths — a male in his 70s who was not from a nursing facility, and a male in his 90s from a nursing facility. There have been a total of 102 COVID deaths in Brown County.

The health department received 24 positive cases Wednesday.

Dick said the Ron Jackson facility was to receive 100 doses this week.

"That is one of those shipments that doesn’t have anything to do with general public-type health,“ Dick said.

At the Ron Jackson facility, a total of 30 youth and 80 staff have tested positive since the pandemic began, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department website states.