State officials are using taxpayers’ money to pressure Texans into getting a COVID–19 vaccine. This, combined with documents revealing more about a Democrat-controlled county’s door-to-door effort, has sparked an outcry for state elected officials to “protect our medical freedom.”
As previously reported by Texas Scorecard, local Texas officials in Democrat-controlled counties have already been helping carry out the Biden administration’s door-to-door effort to increase the number of individuals who’ve received a COVID–19 vaccination.
The state government has now stepped in to help push the controversial vaccine, as well. On July 28, the Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) announced it would be giving $10 million of federal taxpayers’ money to “local organizations working to promote COVID–19 vaccinations in Texas.”
An organization that is awarded these funds will receive anywhere from $50,000-150,000. Educational and government agencies, faith-based organizations, associations, community coalitions, and nonprofits are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to those targeting “communities of color, Texans with disabilities, and rural communities.” DSHS is working with Texas A&M University in managing this program.
The application page says one of the required activities to promote vaccinations is “community outreach through safe in-person methods, phone, virtual, or other person-to-person communication methods.” A variety of other activities are suggested, including working with local shop owners to promote the vaccines available, expanding the number of healthcare providers giving them, and helping set up injection sites at locations like local churches.
The current timeline indicates the project will start on September 13, and it is slated to last six to nine months.
In early July, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) said the county would be carrying out its own door-to-door operation to push COVID–19 vaccinations. Texas Scorecard recently obtained scripts the county gave volunteers for that purpose. The filenames of these scripts indicate the program has been in operation as early as April 10.
Jenkins and Commissioners J.J. Koch (R), John Wiley Price (D), Elba Garcia (D), and Theresa Daniels (D) did not respond to a request for comment on these scripts before publication.
Each script begins with the worker identifying himself as a volunteer with the county, then asking if you’ve received a COVID–19 vaccination. If you respond “yes,” the volunteer is to ask if anyone in your household needs to be vaccinated. If you respond “no,” the volunteer is prompted to provide information on where to get vaccinated. One of the scripts says those who get vaccinated can enter into raffles for an opportunity to win prizes.
According to these documents, the county has so far targeted the neighborhoods of Pleasant Grove, Oak Cliff, South Oak Cliff, and Vickery Meadow. Scripts with filenames dated July 1 and July 17 encourage individuals to go to the West Dallas, Oak Cliff, and LBU Pediatrics locations of the Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic for these vaccinations.
Jackie Schlegel, executive director of Texans for Vaccine Choice, finds these government efforts an invasion of privacy.
“Never in the history of Texas have we seen universal access and education as we have with the COVID vaccine. Anyone who wants the vaccine can access it or gather the knowledge to make an informed decision,” she told Texas Scorecard. “Invading the privacy of our citizens who have rejected this vaccine is allowing taxpayer dollars to do the dirty work of the industry profiting from these liability-free products. It opens the door for even more coercive tactics to come and must be stopped immediately.”
The office of Gov. Greg Abbott did not respond to a request for comment on the grants or Dallas County scripts before publication.
TFVC has issued a call to action for elected officials.
“ACT NOW to protect our medical freedoms, including informed consent, medical privacy, and vaccine choice,” Schlegel said. “Whether at home, in the workplace, in our churches, or in communities, Texans deserve to have the confidence that we can continue to live freely in our great state.”