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Ellis County announces Vaccine Initiative

Formation of local COVID-19 vaccination hub in the works

Daily Light report
Jennifer Bosarge, Executive Director, receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ellis County Judge Todd Little announced this week the launch of the Ellis County Vaccine Initiative — a countywide partnership of the public and private sector established to obtain additional vaccine resources locally.

Under this initiative, Ellis County — in partnership with the City of Waxahachie, Baylor Scott and White Health, and all other local jurisdictions — are working with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for our community to be a COVID-19 vaccination hub provider for the State of Texas.

Through this coordinated effort, the countywide initiative is actively working to increase the allotted COVID-19 vaccine count in Ellis County immediately.

Texas has convened a team of experts into the COVID-19 Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to develop vaccine allocation strategies as recommendations to the Texas Commissioner of Health. 

The panel will develop and apply guiding principles in their recommendations. Some of these principles may include equitable distribution across urban and rural communities, and considerations of application of guidance for vulnerable populations. The guiding principles are under development and will be finalized by the panel. 

DSHS has not allotted any vaccines to Ellis County since Week 5 (Jan. 11) of the vaccination distribution plan, and details on the number of vaccines they will provide in the future have not been received. Texas has directed most COVID-19 vaccines to large sites or hubs around the state. 

This initiative is a countywide response to establish a vaccine hub here in Ellis County. The City of Waxahachie has provided an available location, and both public and private partners continue to come together to provide the resources and the manpower to establish a site for residents to receive a vaccine.

On Jan. 8, Ellis County, in partnership with municipal leadership, issued a letter to DSHS requesting additional allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine for the community.

On Jan. 19, Judge Little issued a letter in support of the Baylor Scott and White Health COVID-19 vaccination allocation survey, to insist on receiving an adequate amount of vaccines to establish and execute an Ellis County Vaccination Hub that will administer 200 to 3,000 doses per day — based on allotment from DSHS.

Two days later, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court approved an agreement with the cities of Waxahachie and Ennis for Mutual Aid Services with approval of direct request for assistance regarding the operation of the COVID-19 vaccination site.

In accordance with the State of Texas, a vaccination hub must implement a registration software solution for vaccine administration. There are currently two platforms pending for implementation. On this day the Commissioners’ Court approved the purchase of the SafeRestart Vaccination Management Program from American Medical Response (AMR — the current county ambulatory provider), to provide immediate access to management software to quickly distribute incoming vaccines.

The registration software for eligible residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from the vaccination hub is under review and was to be finalized later this week. 

The county is currently awaiting the allotment award for the vaccines from DSHS.