Just one week after the Biden–Harris administration announced a nationwide door-to-door effort to increase COVID–19 vaccinations, local government officials in Texas are carrying it out in a variety of ways.
At a Wednesday afternoon press conference with Bexar County and San Antonio officials, Metro Health Director Claude Jacob, who was hired seven days ago out of Massachusetts, was asked if he was interested in Biden’s door-to-door plan to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated. Calling it the “Neighborhood Ambassador Program,” Jacob replied, “We have a number of partners on the ground who are already helping us message that.” He added they’re looking at “better” ways to message, be it through faith-based organizations, businesses, or “local community partners.”
“The neighborhood ambassador model … is popular, and we’re already doing that here in San Antonio,” said Jacob.
This is similar to what is occurring in North Carolina, where health officials are working with a group of community organizers to execute their door-to-door push. Texans previously expressed their disapproval for Biden’s door-to-door effort, and Attorney General Ken Paxton has publicly opposed it, adding that his office is looking at fighting it through the courts.
Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (D) is also a supporter of the door-to-door vaccine push. “I began the first senior door-to-door outreach at East Meadows Public Housing, and I also have promoted the mobile clinics of SA Metro Health,” he told Texas Scorecard. “I will push for door-to-door also.”
The door-to-door push is already underway elsewhere in Texas. In an article published by The Dallas Morning News last week about Dallas County’s vaccination efforts, County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) is quoted saying, “We’re going to be working door-to-door, incentives and pop-up clinics — every day, today, tomorrow and every other day.”
Texas Scorecard asked Jenkins about the door-to-door effort and incentives, but no reply was received before publication. Inquiries were also sent to every Dallas County commissioner.
“I know Six Flags tickets are some of the incentives listed in the agenda last Tuesday. Dr. Huang will keep us posted about the programs and locations. At this point, I haven’t seen them,” replied Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia (D). When pressed on the door-to-door effort, Garcia said, “I haven’t seen the locations/proposals.”
“On first inspection, I did not see anywhere where the county is paying for door-to-door efforts,” Koch stated, adding he would either reach out if he found anything or get Jenkins to respond to clarification requests.
Texas Scorecard asked the county judges and commissioners of Tarrant, Collin, Harris, and Travis counties if they were conducting door-to-door efforts.
“We are doing door-to-door campaigning for getting people vaccinated,” Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez (D) replied, adding it was being done through the constables’ offices, mainly the office of Precinct Four Constable George Morales.
“I’m not aware of any door-to-door vaccination efforts,” Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes (R) stated.
Collin County Commissioner Darrell Hale (R) said their county is delivering COVID–19 vaccinations to senior citizens who have already communicated they want the vaccine but don’t have “easy access.” The county isn’t engaging in door-to-door solicitation of all unvaccinated people. “We shouldn’t go door to door encouraging people to make a decision they already have had ample time to decide. They likely have made it,” he said. “Going door to door as [a] government has never been viewed well and reeks of tyranny.”
Emails sent to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (D) and all county commissioners were viewed but not replied to before publication.
“Who still needs to be ‘informed’ about this shot?” asked Ruth York of Eastland County, after learning of local door-to-door vaccine efforts. “It’s been hyped, pushed, sweetened with inducements reminiscent of mousetraps, and omnipresent for months. Where will this lead? If we accept this, what’s next?”
“Using part of our law enforcement to ‘encourage’ vaccination is intimidating to many people and is bordering on force,” Tarrant County resident Laura Oakley told Texas Scorecard.
“Going door to door is the very definition of governmental overreach and is coercive in nature,” Karen Starnes, a Tarrant County resident, told Texas Scorecard. “Ample evidence exists, through the scientific, medical, and lay-person communities that these injections are dangerous and many times pose more risk to a person than the virus. Coercion is wrong, and every medical professional knows this.”
“I pray every Texan stands their ground literally and figuratively against this outrageous tactic to push a dangerous medical experiment on its population.”