Vaccine

This week, Texas Health and Human Services announced that the state will be directing the majority of COVID-19 vaccines to large sites or hubs around the state to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.

The goal of this plan is to provide more people the vaccine and a simpler way to sign up for an appointment, according to DSHS.

Nineteen counties are participating as hub locations, including Dallas and Tarrant County. Tarrant County is offering vaccine registry through the Tarrant County Public Health Department and Texas Health Resources. There is no residential requirement to register, meaning residents do not have to get vaccinated in their home county.

"So anybody in Parker County can go to Palo Pinto County, Wise County, Dallas or Tarrant County and get the vaccine," Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes said.

Palo Pinto and Parker counties have not yet been added to the hub locations, which can be found at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine-hubs.aspx.

To date, Parker County has received about 2,700 doses of the vaccine, and according to the latest allocation plan by the state, is not included in Week 5.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Steve Dugan Monday asked if the county was doing anything to get more vaccinations.

Hughes said they are working with State Rep. Phil King's office in trying to get additional vaccines, but that "it's kind of a roll of the dice with the panel on where the vaccines are going."

Vaccine distribution is determined by the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. 

"It is a common misunderstanding that counties are able to request vaccines," Parker County Health Authority Dr. Steven Welch said. "The Texas Department of State Health Services allows licensed entities (such as pharmacies, hospitals and clinics) to sign up to be vaccine providers, but the provision is entirely determined by DSHS."

Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said he believes people are frustrated at the lack of a centralized system for them to be able to register and get vaccinated.

Currently, residents are encouraged to visit the map of vaccine providers and contact the locations to see if they have a waiting list or remaining vaccines. That list can be found at https://tdem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3700a84845c5470cb0dc3ddace5c376b.

Hughes and Welch have said they are evaluating the option of an online centralized sign-up process. Hughes also told commissioners they have identified five possible sites as part of the county's Cities Readiness Initiative, and are looking at partnering with two EMS stations so that paramedics would be able to administer the vaccine.

"We're talking 1,000 [vaccinations] a day or greater is what we would like to see," he said. "Until then, we'll be partnering with Tarrant County."

Vaccinations are only open to individuals in Phase 1A (frontline healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities) and 1B (people over 65 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID).

Registration details, including contact information, can be found on the hub location website. Depending on the provider, some may be placed on a waiting list and contacted when vaccines become available. The state recommends finding out if walk-ups are available before showing up to a hub location.

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