Kaufman County is working to open a clinic for the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 25.
"It's obvious there's a disproportionate distribution to rural counties," said County Judge Hal Richards. Other than area hospitals, Kaufman County has received only 300 doses of the vaccine so far at Brookshire's Pharmacy, he noted, for a county population of 100,000 people.Richards and State Rep. Keith Bell worked to lobby the state to allow the county to open a hub to vaccine residents.
The county will use $1.2 million in Cares Act funding, out of $3.8 million the county received last year to combat the COVID epidemic.
"We have to get our vulnerable populations vaccinated," said Bell, who addressed the county court on Tuesday morning. Commissioners approved establishing the clinic hub on a 4-0 vote.
By the end of this week, there should be more details on how and where a vaccination clinic will be operating, alongwith a waiting list to start scheduling clinics.
The clinic hopes to provide 1,000 vaccines per week to residents in the 1A and 1B groups established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
"We're gonna make it happen," said Steve Howie, Kaufman County emergency management coordinator. "We're trying to work as quickly as we can."
One of the commissioners' first priorities would be to vaccinate police officers, who currently are not on the list to receive the first doses of the vaccine, although firefighters can receive the shots.
Howie said Dallas County has a health department that secured vaccinations and started providing shots for residents earlier this month.
Kaufman County could explore opening a health department, as well, in conjunction with one or two other rural counties.
Commissioner Mike Hunt said he hopes the military will bemobilized around the county to help get residents vaccinated. That will be the only way to get the U.S. population protected, he predicted.
The CDC had distributed 31 million doses as of Tuesday morning, with 12.2 million people having received their firstdose of the vaccine, which currently requires two doses. Priority at this time is to healthcare providers and employees and residents of long-term care facilities.
Phase 1B will be frontline essential workers and people 75years and older.
Phase 1C are people 65 to 75 years old, then those 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions, then other essential workers.