Ellis, Johnson County Critically Short on COVID-19 Vaccine, Appeal for Help

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As COVID-19 vaccine distribution accelerates in Texas, some counties and cities say they are being unfairly excluded from doses that are disproportionately going to urban areas.

On Friday, Ellis County sent a letter to the state, signed by city and county leaders which said the county had received only 1,600 doses of the vaccine. Meanwhile, a few miles to their north, Dallas County is now receiving 2,000 doses per day.

“Frustrating would be the word and disappointing also, it just seems like there is a complete lack of understanding on how to distribute this,” said Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams.

In Ferris, the virus has forced the city to move its 911-dispatch to the county after all four of their dispatchers contracted the virus, killing one.

“That’s why you are starting to see county leaders and judges raise their hand and say what’s the deal and why is this going on,” said Williams.

The City of Ferris, through a prior relationship with CareFlight, has been able to get enough doses for its firefighters but its police department and other essential city employees remain unvaccinated.

“We are at the one-yard line, I would hate to see a loss of life but especially when we are this close to a vaccine,” said Williams.

In neighboring Johnson County, it’s a similar story. Like Ellis County, they have received a fraction of the per-capita doses received by Dallas or Tarrant Counties.

“At this point, Johnson County has only received 1,800 vaccines into our community and we are a population of 180,000, so it’s very few,” said Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore.

Monday night, Methodist Health System’s announced all Ellis County first responders are now eligible to receive the vaccine at one of their facilities.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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