By Megan Wehring
HAYS COUNTY — Questions are swarming around the COVID-19 vaccine. Hays County government officials provided an update to the public on Friday, Jan. 15, using Facebook Live.
“I’m going to continue to fight for the residents of Hays County in every way I can,” said County Judge Ruben Becerra. “Some may not like it, but the most important thing is I’m here for you, I’m here to serve you. Our hope is to be most useful.”
Hays County was the model for the state in terms of COVID-19 testing for drive-up and walk-up distribution, according to Chief of Staff Alex Villalobos.
“We have done a good job of getting those tests out,” Villalobos said. “Providing the resources that we needed to get those out to the population in Hays County and making sure that we are communicating those resources in a way to ensure that we are driving forward in multiple languages.”
The county is still waiting to receive more than the current 300 vaccines allocated from the state; these are set for residents in the Phase 1B category. Currently, they are being re-routed since local pharmacies are maxed out.
“Vaccinating the 1A population is very frustrating for us as a local health department not to be able to provide that to the public,” said Health Department Director Tammy Crumley. “But that is, unfortunately, where we are at right now. We do appreciate your patience and understanding with us.”
While the health department is contact tracing for daily positive cases, Crumley said it’s still challenging to track everyone.
“We are working diligently to contact everyone,” Crumley said. “With the wide community spread, it is extremely difficult for anyone to know where they came in contact with anyone. If you go anywhere on a regular basis and are out and about in public, you probably came in contact with someone. It’s important to know that you are running the risk anytime you go out in public.”
Becerra reminded residents that they are not required to get vaccinated.
“Only those that want a vaccine will get one,” Becerra said. “Not me at a county level, not the governor at a state level and not the president at a national level will mandate vaccinations for anyone. That’s not who we are. That’s not what we do.”