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Grant-funded community group looks to increase vaccination rate

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  • Grant-funded community group looks to increase vaccination rate
    A truck of food pulls in to Mansfield Park last month as a sign advertises free COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are provided as part of efforts from Vaccinate Bandera, who aims to provide county residents with increased vaccine info and access. Courtesy P

As of Tuesday morning, DSHS listed Bandera County’s vaccination rate at 50.82 percent, a number that Vaccinate Bandera hopes to increase.

Vaccinate Bandera is funded by statewide grants from DSHS in partnership with the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, and Project Manager Levin Crawford says goal is to provide information and access to vaccines.

“We are a community-based effort to provide residents of Bandera County with factual, unbiased information about and access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Crawford. “We aren’t trying to twist arms; we aren’t trying to have any arguments. We are here with information and access if you need it.”

Crawford said that Vaccinate Bandera has a team of volunteers, some of whom speak Spanish, ready to aid with setting up a vaccine appointment and even give rides to CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, HEB and anywhere else they are able to schedule a vaccine.

“We are here to help the community however we can,” he added. “A lot of people don’t know just how easy it is to get a vaccine. Maybe they don’t have a ride or access to internet. We’re here to help with that.”

Vaccinate Bandera plans to expand, but its advisory committee currently features Arthur Nagel Community Clinic Director Susan Broa, Dr. Saleh Jaafar of Bandera Family Practice, Bandera County Emergency Management Coordinator Carey Reed, who was appointed by Bandera County Judge Richard Evans, Mayor Pro Tem Rebeca Gibson of Bandera City Council, Wesley Nurse Aida Minnick of Methodist Health Ministries and Dr. Debra Hopkins of the Medina/Tarpley/Vanderpool area.

Crawford says that he is continuing to reach out to people in order to expand community involvement with Vaccinate Bandera as much as possible.

Vaccinate Bandera’s efforts kicked off last month during the food distribution from the Silver Sage and San Antonio food bank at Mansfield Park, where COVID-19 vaccines were offered free of charge.

Crawford said 64 shots were given at Mansfield Park – 60 boosters, three first doses and one second dose.

Vaccinations will continue to be distributed at the aforementioned food distributions, the next of which are scheduled for January 10 at the Lakehills Civic Center and January 26 at Mansfield Park.

Crawford says Vaccinate Bandera hopes to expand availability with more clinics throughout other locations in Bandera County.

For more information or to contact a representative from Vaccinate Bandera, visit VaccinateBandera.org or call 1-833-882-2246.