Vaccines available for 8 east Texas counties in 5th week of Save Our Seniors initiative

Vaccines available for 8 east Texas counties in 5th week of Save Our Seniors initiative
(Source: GRAY)

AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday, March 30 that the Texas Division of Emergency (TDEM), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the Texas Military Department (TMD) have announced 35 counties participating in the fifth week of the Save Our Seniors COVID-19 vaccine initiative. The governor announced the Save Our Seniors program in Corpus Christi in February to provide vaccines to seniors throughout the state. To date, 98 counties have participated in the program.

East Texas counties included in the program are Cass, Cherokee, Hopkins, Morris, Panola, Rains, Rusk, and Shelby.

As part of the Save Our Seniors program, TDEM and TMD work alongside local jurisdictions to set up central drive-through vaccine clinics in each community or administer directly to homebound seniors — these decisions are driven by local officials as they identify vulnerable residents in their communities to participate in this program.

Other counties participating in the fifth round of the program are Bastrop, Brewster, Brown, Caldwell, Cameron, Cottle, Dallas, Gray, Hill, Hutchinson, Hudspeth, Irion, Lee, Liberty, Limestone, McCulloch, Orange, Reagan, Robertson, San Jacinto, Starr, Val Verde, Walker, Waller, Webb, Wichita, and Willacy. Many of these counties are participating for a second time in order to administer second doses to eligible residents.

In coordination with local and state partners, counties and cities have been selected based on recent data provided from DSHS related to the following factors:

  1. The state looked at the number of approved providers serving the area;
  2. The state took into account total allocations over the previous 12 weeks;
  3. The state utilized data showing the least vaccinated counties for both 65+ and 75+ administered doses;
  4. The state focused on allocating vaccine equitably across the state.

“I thank our local partners for participating in this important program and ensuring that seniors have easy access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Gov. Abbott. “As Texas expands vaccine eligibility, we will continue to utilize the Save Our Seniors program to make sure that seniors who wish to get vaccinated are able to quickly receive their first and second doses.”

Last week, Governor Abbott announced a new outreach partnership between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and several partners to enhance the state’s Save Our Seniors program. The partnership includes the Texas Employee Retirement System, the Texas Teachers Retirement System, AARP, and Medicare health plans. Participating Medicare health plans include UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. HHSC will work with these partners to launch a direct outreach effort through email, phone calls, and direct mail to encourage seniors to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to provide them with the tools and information they need to receive a vaccine.

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