On the heels of a very successful COVID vaccination clinic, Matagorda County Commissioners approved the extension of the Matagorda County Declaration of Disaster for COVID-19 through April 26 during Monday’s ZOOM meeting.
“We have extended 12 or 13 times and, in my view, we need to keep it open in case something goes south,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald.
The ‘Save Our Seniors’ Vaccination event held last Thursday and Friday in Matagorda County was hosted by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“We started slow but we were able to get 1,620 that were vaccinated in Matagorda County last week,” McDonald said.
The state organization opened vaccination availability to Texans who fit within Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, or are School and Childcare Personnel. Phase 1B includes individuals 65 years of age or older, or individuals 16 years of age or older with a health condition that increases risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
Priority will be given to those 65 and older. Individuals who fit within any of the additional state approved vaccination phases will be given priority following those 65 years of age or older.
Here are the requirements to get the shot.
Individuals 65 years of age or older.
Phase 1A – Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities.
Phase 1B – Individuals 16+ with a health condition that increases risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including but not limited to:
Chronic Kidney Disease
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Heart Conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
Sickle Cell Disease
Type 2 diabetes
Phase 1C – Individuals 50 to 64 years of age.
School and Licensed Child Care Personnel
Those who work in pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools.
Head Start and Early Head Start Programs (including teachers, staff, and bus drivers); and
Those who work as or for licensed childcare providers, including center-based and family care providers.
It is the Pfizer vaccine that was administered last week and there will be two doses required.
According to Matagorda County Public Information Officer Mitch Thames, the dates for the second dose are scheduled for April 29 and 30.
“We are still working on the location, please plan on receiving the second dose on those dates. All dates are tentative, and we will communicate the dates and location as soon as we get the confirmation,” Thames said.
McDonald said during Monday’s commissioner’s court meeting that he is already working with state officials to gain another vaccination clinic here in the county soon.
“I started beating the drums for another clinic and they are working around the state to get seniors and others above 50 years with pre-existing conditions that make them a huge danger to contract COVID. I hope to announce another clinic in another week or two,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the county must continue to move forward and extending the declaration of disaster is only done for receive any federal or state funding that might be made available to counties during the pandemic.
“We did have a very robust vaccination clinic last week and we are moving in the right direction,” McDonald said.
A Disaster Declaration is a formal statement by a jurisdiction that a disaster or emergency exceeds the response and/or recovery capabilities. Although a declaration is commonly addressed after a disaster, a declaration may be made if a disaster is found to be imminent.
The FEMA declaration makes federal funding available to the states to use to fight the spread of the virus. State and local governments have struggled to obtain enough medical supplies amid the pandemic, with some governors saying there have been bidding wars between states and with the federal government.
The designation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency allows states and territories to access federal funds to help fight the coronavirus spread. State officials and doctors have been competing for essential supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment as hospitals grapple with shortages.
FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available for the state of Texas to supplement the state, tribes and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on Jan. 20 and continuing.
The action makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas of the state of Texas.
Federal funding is also available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas affected by COVID-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent.
George A. Robinson has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further assessments.