The added positions, which will be paid for with federal grant funds, will aid the county in its “mass vaccination plan,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services.
Commissioner Grady Prestage expressed urgency in creating the new positions, stating that in an emergency situation such as this, it is important for the county to take advantage of the grant funding and act quickly.
“This is the nature of an emergency ...,” he said. “We must be ready for when 1A, 1B and 1C are completed and we go into the general population.”
County Judge KP George echoed Prestage’s urgency, explaining that he chose to call the special meeting Feb. 11 rather than wait until the court’s next regular meeting later this month to discuss the new positions so the county could act quickly.
The county’s mass-vaccination plan includes operating vaccination sites in each precinct, Johnson-Minter said. County officials looked to the Texas Department of Emergency Management for guidance on how to best staff and run the mass-vaccination clinics, she said, and believe the extra positions will help the county vaccinate residents most efficiently.
Randi Lintner, the county’s human resources director, said the cost for just the 12 1/2 personnel for a one-year funding cycle will run about $1,00,773. The positions will be funded through Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grants, county officials said.
Depending on how quickly vaccines are distributed, the county could likely begin scaling back the additional staff in October, Minter said, but will likely keep some through at least the end of the calendar year.
As long as the federal funds are available, Prestage said, the county should take advantage of them and keep the positions as long as needed.
“It should end when the job is done,” he said.