Brownsville residents lacking internet access struggle receiving COVID-19 vaccine updates

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Brownsville, Texas (KVEO) — For some, updates on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution are just one click away, but many Brownsville residents without internet access are depending on word-of-mouth. 

According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the city of Brownsville was found to have the least fixed broadband in Cameron County.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: COVID-19 vaccination distribution in the RGV

For residents like Delia Aguilar-Elizarde, that means vaccine updates are a community effort.  

RGV lack of internet connectivity contributes to lowest vaccination rates in the state

“Knowing first-hand is important because my neighbors are elderly and whenever it is that I have talked to them they ask me, ‘please keep us updated’ because they don’t know where to go to get the vaccine,” said Elizarde.  

Neighborhood in Southmost, Brownsville

Elizarde is disabled and immunocompromised and calls vaccine providers weekly for updates, but her vaccine-opportunities are also for her neighbors.

“They’re waiting for me to let them know who has is it so they can go and get the vaccine,” said Elizarde.  

Neighborhood in Southmost, Brownsville

While Cameron County oversees vaccine-distribution, the city of Brownsville is aware of the issues with getting the message to everyone. 

For this reason, the city is trying to advertise the distribution to the Brownsville Herald, designing a COVID-19 pamphlet for the senior community, conduct block walks, and using other methods such as digital billboards and radio.

Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said in a statement:

The bottom line is that connectivity will help individuals get the information faster, because of the everchanging landscape of vaccine distribution, and the need to disseminate this information.

59-year-old Leobardo Martinez, also a Brownsville resident, said he has internet access, but not social media. 

“Yes, I have internet, I watch YouTube, but I have to say that I understand that people that have money got the vaccine and the ones that don’t, there’s nothing,” said Martinez. “There has to be something we can do so it can be available to everyone.”  

Martinez said he had COVID-19 adding that 22 people in his neighborhood died from the virus and he is concerned for his neighbors. 

“The people need to know because I went through this,” said Martinez.   

For COVID-19 updates in Brownsville call 956-247-3650.

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