‘Unacceptable’: State lawmakers address roll out of COVID-19 vaccine

HOUSTON – It doesn’t matter if you live in downtown Houston or really anywhere across the state of Texas, if you’re someone who is wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, chances are you’re probably anxious to get it.

“We have now surpassed 30,000 deaths in Texas. It’s unacceptable and we have to start making policy decisions that truly merit the value of our medical community and put health care planning at the forefront and not partisanship,” said District 134 Rep. Ann Johnson.

Recently, hospitals in the medical center have been sending out invites to those who are eligible to receive the vaccine, making many feel very fortunate to have already received the vaccine. Others are still left asking the question, when is it their turn?

District 137 Rep. Gene Wu says, “One of the big problems was the uptake rate for healthcare workers has been incredibly low some places are below 50% of employees that are actually getting the vaccine when offered which is not a big deal for the big hospital change because they can go to their patients and say we know who is over 65 and we know who has a heart condition come in and get your vaccine That our staff are not getting”.

District 146 Rep. Shawn Thierry is one of many lawmakers pushing for their community clinics and physicians to get vaccines. Thierry said a few months ago she asked Gov. Greg Abbott to look into investigating why it was being distributed in an unproportionate way, noticing many African-American and Latino communities are a part of this.

“It’s very concerning that many of the underserved communities that I represent are federally qualified health centers they do not have access to vaccines so 50% of those vaccines are still sitting on a shelf somewhere where I am what I feel like we should be able to do is once we get more federal funding why not do what we did with COVID-19 testing sites and have mobile vaccine sites,” Thierry said.

Lawmakers said they are suggesting the state open up drive-thru vaccination sites, to make it more accessible to those who currently don’t have the ability to get it.

“What lawmakers should be doing as we did yesterday as we did with a call to the state is yell at them and say hey this idea of throwing stuff to Walgreens, to HEB, to CVS, that’s fantastic for the areas that actually has those stores, my community does not have those places,” Wu said.