LUBBOCK, Texas — About 50 people from outside Texas and even outside the United States have received COVID-19 vaccine shots at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, according to the health department.
“There have been travelers from all over that have come into the clinic. The clinic is set up and designed for the South Plains … We’re not encouraging individuals to come here. They should really be seeking vaccine in the vaccine sites that are set up for their counties or their states,” Katherine Wells, Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock, said.
Wells said most of these people were from nearby states, such as New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma. A handful were from Mexico. However, the overwhelming majority of the now more than 60,000 combined first and second vaccine doses the department has given out were to people from the Hub City and surrounding areas.
“Whoever is coming from outside our area, that’s a very small percentage. I think it’s more important to have the clinic open and being able to get a lot of people through it rather than worrying about a small handful of people that might be coming in from outside the area,” Wells said.
However, no matter where a traveler comes from, he or she must meet the requirements of Phase 1A and 1B in order to receive a vaccine at the center, even if the requirements are different than the person’s state or country of origin. The only way to make a vaccine appointment for the center is by calling the Lubbock Health Department or making an appointment online.
While Wells emphasized the department’s priority is vaccinating eligible individuals from the area, the Texas Department of State Health Services forbids vaccine centers in hub cities across the state from looking at residency as a condition of receiving the vaccine.
“The guidance I received from the state said the clinic is for Texans, but we’re not allowed to check for residency,” Wells said.