'Save our Seniors' initiative launches in 26 Texas counties
AUSTIN, Texas - 26 Texas counties are participating in the first week of the state’s "Save our Seniors" initiative. Participating Central Texas counties include Lee and Bastrop.
The state has allocated 8,000 vaccines for the first week of the program. In a press conference Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said "the state will deploy more than 1,100 National Guard across the state to help communities vaccinate homebound seniors."
A Monday press release from Abbotts office explained that the initiative will target Texans who are 75 and older, and, or, homebound.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Military Department will work with local government entities to set up either drive thru vaccine clinics or "administer directly homebound seniors." Adding "these decisions will be driven by local jurisdictions based on their most vulnerable individuals."
TDEM and TMD will work with local officials and non-profits, such as Meals on Wheels Central Texas to identify homebound Texans.
"We’re eager to partner with [the state] to connect them, the vaccinators, with the people that we serve." said Central Texas Meals on Wheels CEO Adam Hauser.
Tuesday, a Meals on Wheels spokesperson told FOX 7 Austin that the non-profit will help connect their clients in Bastrop with the initiative, but said "at this time in the program they are not yet receiving their vaccine."
Meals on Wheels client Mary Guerra, 83, says she hopes the program quickly expands.
"We stay at home all the time, we can’t leave, cause we’re in fear of getting sick with the virus." she explained. Guerra, and her 87-year-old husband are both medically vulnerable.
They have spent the last year quarantining in their East Austin home. "I don’t even see my grandkids… they just come to the street and wave to me and talk to me cause’ we can’t even hug them and kiss them." She added "It’s very difficult to see my grandkids from a far, like they’re strangers."
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The Guerra’s registered with Austin Public Health around Christmas time, but have yet to secure a vaccine appointment. Mary Guerra says a home visit through the program would "would help us older people a lot 100 percent."
Counties participating in the first round of the program are:
- San Jacinto