The Hunt For a COVID-19 Vaccine In Dallas County
If you’re in either of the Phase 1a or Phase 1b category for COVID-19 vaccination groups, and are on the “hunt for a vaccine”, you know the process can be frustrating and exhausting. Some have made calling to register for the COVID-19 vaccine a full-time job, spending hours signing up themselves or family members at multiple websites. In order to be successful, you need patience, persistence, a spreadsheet with websites/phone numbers, etc., and some luck.
And for many its become a bit of a “group project”, with friends and family members working together to share helpful information and tips on how and where to register. However, even after you’ve successfully scheduled an appointment, things can still go wrong. Today a gentleman with an appointment and QR code was turned away at Fair Park. According to him, when they asked if he was 65 or older, and he answered “no”, he was told there was a system glitch and only those over 65 were eligible today.
Another challenge faced couples, a husband and wife that both qualify in Phase 1b sign up at the same time. One gets an email with an appointment at Fair Park, while the other remains somewhere on the waitlist. This presents a challenge for couples that are dependent on others for transportation, or due to health issues can’t be home alone.
DeSoto Seeks Equitable Distribution Plans
At tonight’s DeSoto COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall, community and City Council members were able to ask questions of Judge Jenkins, Dr. Huang, Chief Duffield and others. This was the third COVID-19 Town Hall DeSoto has held to keep residents informed of news and updates. DeSoto Mayor Pro Tem Kenzie Moore said, “We would like to thank Judge Clay Jenkins and Dr. Phillip Huang from Dallas County and Samia Zia from Parkland Hospital for joining us at our Town Hall meeting tonight and for leading the fight against COVID-19 in the County.”
“It was clear that DeSoto desires vaccination sites in locations that will be readily accessible to everyone in our community and we will continue to advocate for that outcome, Moore said. “It was good to hear that Judge Jenkins shared our desire for an equitable distribution plan and we will continue to work with him towards that goal.”
Dallas County Remains In The Red Zone – DeSoto Is Improving
Dr. Philip Huang says Dallas County is still in the red zone in regards to transmission, but has seen some improvements recently. However, while cases are declining or plateauing, the number of deaths in Dallas County remains high. Yesterday Dallas County reported 50 deaths and 35 deaths today.
Its concerning that the UK variant B.1.1.7 is circulating in the community, so there’s no room to let up on hygiene, social distancing and masking. The Dallas County waiting list has approximately 550,000 people on it, but Fair Park is only being allocated around 9,000 doses a week. Dallas County has been prioritizing those over 75 and also those over 65 with underlying health conditions. Dr. Huang says they remain hopeful vaccine supplies will increase, enabling the county to vaccinate more of the population.
Dallas County Is Using A Proximity/Vulnerability Scale For Vaccine Appointments
Mayor Pro Tem Moore asked Dr. Huang if COVID-19 cases in DeSoto are trending downward or what’s the current outlook. He responded, looking at current hotspots in Dallas County, DeSoto is less active than areas like Cockrell Hill, Irving, Grand Prairie, Uptown and Balch Springs. Dr. Huang complimented DeSoto on doing a great job of getting residents tested, which has helped to slow the spread in the community.
Judge Jenkins explained that Dallas County is using a proximity/vulnerability scale with a focus on the hardest hit zip codes and populations. Priorities are given to those over 75, especially if they live in a zip code of a hard hit area. He said if you’re younger and fall in the category of 1b, your best bet is to sign up in Collin, Denton and Tarrant County. Those counties are using a first come, first served system for their COVID-19 vaccine waitlist.
Changes Coming To Fair Park Process
Mayor Pro Tem Moore asked Judge Jenkins why people living in the zip code of 75115 that register are told they need to go to Parkland for the vaccine. Ellis Davis Field House is much closer, especially for elderly people. Jenkins explained that each site can handle a limited number of patients depending on the vaccine doses allocated and number of vaccinators available. While Ellis Davis Field House is capable of vaccinating 1,000 people per day, they are only being allocated 500 doses per day.
Yesterday Fair Park implemented the use of QR codes for appointment confirmations to reduce the issue of people sharing links. One advantage of the QR code is to set appointments for couples in Phase 1b in the same household at the same time. Also, Dallas County is working with DART to provide buses to bring people to get vaccinated. Ideally, they’ll be able to stay on the bus and vaccinators can board the bus and give the vaccine without anyone having to get off and wait in line, etc.
Next week Fair Park will be transitioning from an indoor vaccination site to a drive-thru site. Jenkins says they are expecting 9,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week, and 12,000 second doses. Dallas County launched a COVID-19 hotline today, 1-855-IMMUNE9, this number is available 7 days a week from 7am-7pm.
You can register for the COVID-19 Vaccine through the following links:
Ellis County: If you do not have an account with Baylor Scott and White – Health
1. Create an account at BSWHealth.com/COVIDVaccine , to register for a vaccine.