It wasn’t long after local county and city officials met with Congressman Tony Gonzales in a roundtable meeting at Devine Community Center, that local providers have received the largest vaccine shipment yet.
After local officials expressed concern on the vaccine allotments that have been few and far between, Congressman Gonzales (TX-23) sent a letter to the Texas Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel on Wednesday, March 3 requesting to designate Medina County as a COVID-19 vaccination hub.
“Vaccine distribution should continue to be our country’s number one priority and that means ensuring that the rural areas of our state have the same access to the vaccine as our big cities,” said Congressman Gonzales.
County officials haven’t received word back about becoming a hub, but they have received a much larger amount of doses this week!
This week’s COVID-19 vaccine allocations have gone to the Medina County Health Unit with 1,000 vaccine doses of Moderna (a two dose shot series with the second dose due on or after 28 days); Medina Regional Hospital and Medical Clinic of Hondo with a combined allocation of 700 doses, and God’s Country Pharmacy with 100 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine (a one dose shot).
COVID-19 Vaccine Registration for the Medina County Health Unit will be available soon. Check https://vaccine.medinatx.org/ for updates.
Medina County has been setting up localized clinics such as one in Natalia and one at Devine Community Center this week. Follow The Devine News on Facebook for announcements like these.
Now Eligible To Be Vaccinated: School and Child Care Personnel
With the federal directive, the following education and child care personnel are now eligible to be vaccinated in Texas:
Those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools;
Head Start and Early Head Start programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers); and
Those who work as or for licensed child care providers, including center-based and family care providers.
Additional information for educators and school staff is available in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) K-12 COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ or https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx
The full letter sent to vaccine allocation panel from Congressman Gonzales is below:
Dear Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel,
I respectfully request that Medina Regional Hospital, located in Hondo, Texas, be designated as a COVID-19 vaccination hub. As the pandemic spreads across rural areas in Texas, I am concerned that portions of my congressional district lack adequate access to a vaccine.
This holds true in Medina County where many citizens are either sheltered at home or limited in their ability to travel to a metropolitan area for a vaccine. Compounding that need is a high incidence of chronic conditions in the region.
As a Critical Access Hospital, Medina Regional services 50,000 patients a year and has the capacity to support an effective vaccine rollout. It has at its disposal a 2,300 square foot facility that stands ready to be converted into a hub. Adjacent to this building is an emergency room that is staffed with physicians at all hours on every day of the week.
Additionally, refrigerators and freezers have been ordered to house large doses of vaccines, and sufficient parking is available to deploy a drive-through clinic as needed. Part time staff have been recruited to manage the process of scheduling and paperwork, and RN staff can be utilized to administer injections. If deemed a hub, Medina Regional estimates a vaccination rate of 200-300 citizens per day.
Finally, Medina Regional can rely on the full support of the county judge, mayors, county trauma coordinators, county disaster director, and health nurses in the area, all of which are ready to partner in this endeavor. The hospital has also partnered with a local HEB Pharmacy, in addition to coordinating with local law enforcement for traffic control.
Please consider this request to designate Medina Regional Hospital as vaccination hub. Thank you for your dedication to promoting a healthy Texas.
Tony Gonzalez, Member of Congress