Galveston County devises new way to get underserved vaccinated

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Starting on Monday, anyone in Texas who is 16 or older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Galveston County, more than 35% of adults who fall under that category have gotten at least one dose. As the county prepares to administer more doses, health officials are also trying to reach out to other populations.

One way they're doing that is with a partnership with the Galveston County Food Bank. Six days a week, they see up to 600 cars daily go through their mobile food distribution sites.

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Many are calling them "angels" for making these house calls for patients who can't leave their homes, but getting it done isn't easy.

On Friday, as volunteers filled up families' trucks with food, recipients were also handed an informational flyer on the vaccine created by UTMB. On one side, it details how to get the vaccine, and on the back, it answers frequently asked questions. The flyers are available in both English and Spanish.

"They created some awesome flyers to help us get the word out about the COVID-19 vaccination," said Kelly Boyer, the program supervisor for the Galveston County Food Bank. "Mobile food distributions are a great way for us to get resources out to the community because people come in mass."

For people in line, like Sam Morales, the flyer was a huge help.

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UTMB teamed up with West Point Baptist Church in Galveston to issue 200 doses of the vaccine, and it was a life-saving event for many.

"I've been trying to get [the vaccine] for about a month and I don't know who to get in touch with or anything like that," he said. "It will help a lot, a 100%."

Galveston County and UTMB have not only created flyers, but they also made bookmarks and are working on other ways to get into communities and get the word out about vaccinations.

"We are approaching churches, we are approaching home health agencies, we are approaching some home health clinics where people come for regular care," said Dr. Janak Patel, who's a part of the UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force.

As for Galveston County, anyone can sign up for their waitlist. To make an appointment, you can visit the vaccine section of the UTMB website or you can call 877-389-2318.

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