Small RGV cities feel over-looked in vaccine clinic sites

Local News

SAN BENITO, Texas (KVEO) — Vaccine clinics are popping up every week for those who qualify, but smaller cities said their residents need clinics in their community.

The mayor of San Benito voiced the need and ability in his city to have a clinic, but Cameron County said there is more to consider when planning for a clinic.

“There is a need, and we have expressed that to our county officials, I have told them that 48 percent of our citizens here in San Benito are elderly, retired, low-income. Ok? 48 percent that is almost half of our population,” said San Benito mayor Ricardo Guerra.

Many residents cannot travel or wait in line for vaccine clinics in other cities, said Mayor Guerra.  

“We have the Los Fresnos, we had the Brownsville, we had the Harlingen…San Benito has been left out,” said Guerra.

Cameron County Health Department explained where vaccine clinics are set-up depends on the resources available in that city.  

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“The big difference between the Harlingen, Brownsville, and Los Fresnos sites is the efficiency of this facility,” said Cameron County Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo.   

Guajardo said providers for vaccines apply through the state, then partner with cities to distribute to the community. It is then up to the partnership to decide how the vaccine will be distributed.  

Los Fresnos, for example, has offered their police department, nurses and EMS to help out.   

“People are very appreciative of how quickly this goes through, we think Los Fresnos is central in Cameron County,” said Guajardo.  

She reported vaccinating 4,000 people in seven hours in Los Fresnos, but San Benito said their population should not be overlooked. Guerra said they have the space to administer with a provider in their fair-grounds.  

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“We do have a place; we do have a place here in San Benito—we can use it it’s large—that can possibly be used as a drive-thru also,” said Mayor Guerra.    

However, another major concern is reaching those in-need who are immobile.  

“This is why I am advocating to the state that we need to get vaccines out to the providers that are enrolled,” said Guajardo. “Because pharmacies and doctors’ offices know who their clients are, the ones who are in most need.”  

Guajardo said she is looking into the possibility of an outreach program to reach those in their homes.    

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