Dallas City leaders are squabbling over vaccine distribution and even over how to get people registered to receive it.
There was a line around the building at an Oak Cliff supermarket Friday at a vaccine registration site.
“I came because I don't know how to go in the internet,” said visitor Dominga Esparza.
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The site connected people with the Dallas County registration list using computers supplied by Dallas County.
Chad West is one of several City Council Members who asked the city manager for city equipment to support registration sites.
Under state law, the Mayor Eric Johnson is also the emergency management director. He ordered the city manager to deny the council registration equipment requests because they had not been submitted first to the Mayor’s office.
“So, the county stepped up and gave us the laptops we needed,” West said. “We hope moving forward we can have a better system of communication because we've got to get the help out to the people who need it.”
Mayor Johnson announced that he will instead order the City of Dallas to establish its own registration hubs.
“My issue with those is we want to make sure they are in the places where they will do the most good. I’m very adamant about not letting any politics creep into the decisions that we make about how we get a lifesaving virus into people’s arms,” Johnson said.
Council Member Paula Blackmon who also requested registration support said it was not about the May election.
“The intent was to get people in line, no politics, no backroom discussions,” Blackmon said.
Friday Mayor Johnson also announced the City of Dallas will receive 5,000 vaccine doses from the State of Texas next week to operate its own vaccine hub.
It will be a drive-through operation at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center with people scheduled by appointment from the same Dallas County registration list.
“We will always revert to the science and the math, and even in a breakdown of the system, we will never revert to personal networks or partisan anything,” Mayor Johnson said.
Some critics have questioned Johnson’s approach.
Three city council members called for a special meeting Monday night to review the issue of registration hubs and elements of the Dallas COVID-19 response that Johnson has been handling on his own.
“We need to be part of this discussion,” Blackmon said. “I just really would like to work together because working apart is even harder.”
Dominga Esparza said the turn out at the Oak Cliff registration event sends a message.
“It shows me that there’s a lot of people here that’s willing to take the shot,” she said. The special city council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday evening.