Milam County works hard as a rural area to vaccinate its community

Posted at 2:13 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 19:48:37-05

CAMERON, TX — Milam County is made up of many small cities, known as a rural county they aren't equipped with the needs like many big cities have during COVID-19.

For starters there are no hospitals within the county, needing to drive to the next county over for anything critical. In the time of a pandemic little to no medical services have been a challenge.

With a higher population of those 65 and older, receiving COVID-19 vaccines have been a blessing.

"I thought they would just look over us," Charles Embra said.

Embra is 72 years old and he never thought the day of his receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would come.

"I have to be grateful about it because I just inquired about it two weeks ago and here I am," Embra said.

So far, Milam county has only vaccinated a little over 100 people with the first dose. Milam County Judge Steve Young said they need to vaccinate more.

"We have aggressively done everything we can to keep the numbers down," Judge Young said.

Although cases began to rise and restrictions were put back into place, now bars are closed and restaurants and retail shops are under 50% capacity.

This has been a constant struggle so Jude Young called on the state to send them more vaccines.

"And the lady laughed, and she said well I'll tell you what I'll do I'll give you 200 but only if you use 200. If you don't use them you don't get anymore, I said lady if you send then I'll use them," Jusge Young said.

Then a miracle of 400 doses was sent to the county, 200 going to Cameron and 200 in Rockdale. Jude Young plans to administer all vaccines within a few weeks.

But it's doing so quickly that is another challenge, with rural county comes to a small group of leadership.

"Some of the challenges we've had as a smaller health department in the state has been our staffing," Executive Director of the Milam County Health Department, Robert Kirkpatrick said.

Even though they have a small team he says they're ready for the challenge.

"We're in the process of expanding our vaccination operations to be able to vaccinate more people quicker and safer," Kirkatrick said.

Judge Young says he'll work hard to vaccinate nearly everyone in Milam County and will be on the phone with the State weekly as more need for the vaccine occurs.

"We've done everything we can but frankly it's not under control. That's all there is to it ut we're not going to give up we're going to keep working at it and we're going to get it under control," Judge Young said.

This Saturday they have a plan to administer the 200 vaccines in Rockdale and throughout next week vaccinate in Cameron.

Judge Young says there are currently over 1,000 people on the waitlist to get a vaccine.