Texas explains requirements after social media posts suggest vaccine was open to all

HOUSTON – Despite some social media posts, the Texas Division of Emergency Management said certain COVID-19 vaccination events in Liberty and Matagorda counties will not be open to almost anyone.

On Thursday, Liberty County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security posted on Facebook, “The age restriction for COVID-19 vaccinations has been lifted.”

The post said people over the age of 18, who want a vaccine can go to sites in Dayton and Liberty.

Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck told KPRC 2 the event at the community center was focused on seniors but when enough did not show up so they opened up the vaccines to others to make sure they weren’t wasted.

The doses initially went to folks who are homebound, as well as those 65 and older, said TDEM spokesman Seth Christensen. The rest went to people ages 50 and up, as well as teachers, he said.

People ages 50 to 64 are part of group 1C in Texas, which is open for vaccination. School workers can also get vaccinated at this time.

Christensen said seniors will also be the priority at Friday’s event at the community center.

Also on Thursday, a post on the Matagorda County Emergency Operation Center’s Facebook page discussed a vaccination event at the county fairgrounds scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

“This line is for anyone who is 16 years old and older. You do not have to have an underlining health condition,” the post read.

Later in the day, Public Information Officer Mitch Thames said that was not the case.

“We did initially say anyone 16-years and over was welcome to come in but it is still 16-years and over with an underlying condition and I don’t think that was communicated properly this morning,” Thames said.

People ages 16 years and older with certain underlying health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness are included in phase 1B in Texas, which also includes people ages 65 and older. Thames said the confusion was the result of miscommunications.

The Facebook page later included another post indicating Friday’s event at the fairgrounds would be limited to people in phases 1A, 1B and 1C, along with school workers, though the priority would be for people ages 65 and older.

Christensen said nothing has changed in terms of which population groups have been approved to receive the vaccine.