HOUSTON — Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed his disappointment no city or county health officials were invited to a roundtable discussion between Gov. Greg Abbott and medical experts Tuesday at Houston Methodist.
Abbott is in town discussing vaccine distribution and future healthcare legislation with leaders in the Texas Medical Center. He also gave an update on state COVID-19 cases.
Hours after the governor's office announce Abbott's visit, Turner tweeted:
"I see where the Governor is coming to Houston specially the Texas Medical Center for a round table conversation on vaccine distribution. Neither City nor County healthcare Directors are included. Surly this is an oversight."
He then added:
"Any round table conversation in Houston about vaccine distribution in Houston, Harris County region should include diverse representation to ensure there is equitable vaccine distribution to at risk, vulnerable communities."
Turner spoke more on the matter in a statement released during the governor's visit. It read:
"We welcome Governor Abbott to Houston today. Houston is the largest city in Texas and America without Medicaid Expansion, meaning that the public health infrastructure will face extremely difficult challenges in assisting vulnerable communities when it comes to vaccinations. With so many families without primary healthcare coverage, all levels of government must work together to serve our shared constituents.
"The Houston Health Department has been working tirelessly to vaccinate Houstonians. Both Houston Health and Harris County Public Health have the experience and a lot of insight to offer regarding vaccine distribution. We must work as a team and seek to be as inclusive as possible to get the job done."