Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in order to get vaccines in more arms he’s sending a request via the state to the federal government for a mass vaccination site run by FEMA.
In a press conference Thursday, he said it would be a “force multiplier,” vaccinating 12,000 people a day.
"To put that into perspective, if you ran that for six days at 12,000 a day, and took Sundays off, that would be 72,000. And this week, our total vaccination for everyone in Dallas County is 43,400,” said Jenkins.
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Still, he was quick to say it’s not a done deal. Though Jenkins was optimistic a plan like this would fit under President Biden’s new plan to increase the number of vaccinations, he said it’s not yet been reviewed or approved.
Jenkins highlighted other changes and upgrades to the vaccine signup system in Dallas County including a multi-million dollar investment by the county for a bilingual call center to help people who are struggling to register for the vaccine online.
Efforts include a new registration program that would include QR code invitation links that can't be shared.
Everyone Should Sign Up for the Vaccine
Thursday, Jenkins also encouraged that to get the vaccine as quickly as possible, residents should register at every hub, listed here, that they’re willing to drive to.
He said even those not in Phase 1A or 1B group can go ahead and sign up. That doesn’t mean they’ll get a vaccine now, but it will put them in line for when vaccinations become available for their priority group.
City and county leaders are also encouraging an 'all hands on deck' approach from the business community when it comes to vaccinations.
"Let's be clear we are now getting close to the one year mark and experiencing one of the biggest challenges that Dallas has ever faced," said Dallas City Councilmember Chad West. "We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but right now today we are at the darkest moment we have thousands of deaths we have registration challenges and we have hospitals that are near capacity
The call is for businesses and employers to encourage and even help eligible people to sign up for the vaccination.
"We need to change the formula if we want to get out of this pandemic and resume a normal way of life," said Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia.
The hope is everyone signs up for vaccinations, regardless of which group is currently getting the vaccine so that the county gets a better understanding of what the real demand is, since the concern is having supply meet demand.
Who's Next When It Comes to Vaccines?
Meanwhile vaccination efforts across the state could change in the future. The focus on mainly large hubs could shift to smaller providers in just a couple of weeks, like pharmacies and smaller medical practices.
Everything depends on the availability of vaccines which is still a major challenge, including when the state will begin vaccinating the next group of citizens.
"As far as when we transition to 1C or next group, that's really dependent on vaccine supply, how soon it increases, how soon we get through 1B population," said Imelda Garcia with the Texas Department of State Health Services. "With 1B know we're going to be here for a while."
Texas moved away from federal vaccine guidelines in December and joined other states in moving a broader population of older residents to the front of the line. But Garcia, who chairs the state panel that recommends vaccine prioritization for Texas' nearly 30 million residents, said the Biden administration may make some changes that they'll want to consider for the next phase.
Garcia said Texas is "not satisfied" with the supply of vaccines and did not hint at what groups might be eligible next.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.