A deal has been reached between the UNT Health Science Center and Tarrant County in an effort to expand COVID-19 vaccine access in the county.
Under the agreement, UNTHSC is tasked with ‘strategically’ advising the county on all efforts related to vaccination efforts including site planning and outreach. The university will also independently operate vaccination sites, but it will not assume operational control of the county’s current sites which are run by Tarrant County Public Health.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said the new sites through UNTHSC could potentially include more drive-thru locations. They will also be responsible for all marketing tools and targeted outreach programs to educate, register, and vaccinate populations in the county that are underserved and hard-to-reach.
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“We can’t staff enough people to be prepared for any pandemic that may come along or any major emergency that may come along every 10, 15 years,” Judge Whitley said. “So, we’ve got to have this sort of relationship set up. Now hopefully in the future, we’ve got this set up before it gets here.”
The contract will run through Sept. 30, and the county will pay $2.5 million for UNTHSC to get started on their work. The cost could reach up to $25 million, according to the agreement.
A statement from UNTHSC was sent to NBC 5 regarding the agreement:
“The UNT Health Science Center has consistently collaborated with Tarrant County and other community partners to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, all while providing important and accurate health information to residents in an effort to prioritize the safety of our community. The agreement approved Tuesday continues that partnership as we work together to develop and implement a comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy. HSC is eager to assist in vaccinating the community and will provide updates as progress is made.”