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Taylor Co. Public Health Director shares criteria for becoming COVID-19 vaccination hub



ABILENE, TX – As one of 77 vaccine hubs in Texas, Abilene-Taylor County Public Health Director Annette Lerma says they must comply with stipulations laid out by the state.

On the eve of Taylor County’s first mass-vaccination clinic, Lerma says 1,200 vaccines are set for shipment to the county every week. With 600 vaccines planned to be given out this Thursday and Friday, Lerma says the health district will follow Texas’s distribution plan when doling them out.

“We must also agree to the state’s distribution plan to target the 1A and the 1B eligible people, so it’s not just open to anyone,” said Lerma. “We must also make an effort to target at-risk populations and zip codes that have been hit hardest by COVID.”

Other elements that make a city eligible for becoming a vaccine hub is if it has a fit registration system and if it can distribute its allocated vaccines within 5-7 days.

For now, the health district is being given 1,200 vaccines per week, and Lerma believes that supply can be given within the required time frames.

“Our plan is to host a hub event once or twice a week. I think we do have enough community support where we could get rid of them [the vaccines] in a day,” said Lerma.

The health director is optimistic that the county will be allocated more vaccines in the coming weeks. She says the health district is awaiting further instructions from the state, which receives its instructions from the federal level. With President Joe Biden sworn into office Wednesday, new regulations could roll out soon.

“With the change in presidency today and the new COVID-response leadership team in place at the federal level, what the state said is they’re waiting for further guidance from the federal level,” said Lerma.

Another important note laid out by Lerma is they are not bound to inoculate county residents only. This means a resident from a surrounding county could receive their vaccines in Taylor County, but as Lerma points out, that will also require that resident to receive their second dose of the vaccine in Taylor County as well.

“If somebody lives in another county and later on their county gets vaccine, they’re not going to be able to get it in their own county. They’ll have to return to us,” said Lerma.