The city of Dallas has restarted a drive-thru vaccination site at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
On Tuesday, about 2,000 city employees began receiving their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the city, once first responders are complete, 5,000 residents who signed up through the Dallas County Health and Human Services sign-up form, will be notified to to come and receive their vaccine at the convention center starting on Thursday.
"As we speak, 5000, emails, phone, text messages are going out, inviting people to schedule," said Rock Vaz, the director of Dallas Office of Emergency Management during a news conference Wednesday morning.
Those who received a notification were urged to signup as soon as possible through a third party scheduling app called Blockit
"Please schedule an appointment as soon as you get that email or phone or text, because as we know, there are over 400,000 people waiting to get vaccines and all we can do this week is 5,000," said Vaz.
Vaccinations for people in the 1A and 1B groups who have confirmed appointments will begin at the site on Thursday.
Because of the limited supply of vaccines, they have prioritized who was given an appointment first. Vaz said they based the list on risk criteria from the state and Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI). Some of those factors include socioeconomics, access to health care and someone's vulnerability to COVID-19 cases based on where they live.
The site is open to anyone in the state of Texas, since it's a hub.
"By opening up a site in an area that has the most need, we get it. We'd love to be able to prioritize people from within that area, but the state, way it's set up right now it doesn't allow us to go and do a certain population or certain zip codes, it has to meet the 1B criteria and then they are prioritized by Dallas County Health and PCCI as we get the list. It doesn't mean if you are in a particular area that we can prioritize people that live over there," said Vaz.
On Thursday starting at 10 a.m. through Saturday, the goal is 5,000 shots in 5,000 arms, which Dallas Fire and Rescue says is around 200 people an hour.
About 80 first responders and city employees will run the location.
The drive-thru site is just that, cars only, and those who arrive without an appointment will not be given a shot.
“No walk-ins will be allowed. If you do not have an appointment, please do not come to the site, because you will be turned away," said Vaz.
As for those who don't have their own transportation, this week there is a plan in place to work with those individuals.
As for next week and beyond, Vaz said their working with the county to add an option on the registration website so people can choose whether they want to go to a drive-thru or walk-up location, like Fair Park.
He said a primary reason why that location was chosen, is because people, who have registered, can walk to Fair Park and there are several modes of public transportation nearby.
"So when we sort through the database and say, 'Give me 10,000 names for next week,' we'll make sure we'll only get people who have opted to come to a drive-thru site so we don't have the mix up where people get an invitation to schedule an appointment, but do not have a way to get there," explained Vaz.
He said they're hoping to get more than 5,000 doses of the vaccine from the state for next week.
As for the first responders who received their second dose on Tuesday, which brings with it a more than 95% immunity to the virus, it was a climactic moment after months of fear they would contract it.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.
“When you are handling all these calls and going out to these people's homes it just makes you feel a lot better,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata, who said he’ll receive his second dose Wednesday. “It’s (COVID-19) almost that silent killer, that invisible killer because you don’t know when it could creep up on you.”
Nearby in Fair Park, Dallas County has continued to refine its mass vaccination process, administering more than 2,700 doses on Monday.
“We are expecting to run out of supply maybe by the end of the week, if that happens it will be a great week for us,” said Christian Grisales, with the Dallas County Health and Human Services.
In a press conference Thursday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that 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. 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.