As demand for the COVID-19 vaccine decreases, health leaders in Tarrant County are shifting their focus from large-scale mass vaccination sites to more pop-up vaccine events.
The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth ('HSC') and Tarrant County have launched a new feature on their vaccine information website, which allows businesses and organizations to request pop-up events be held at their location.
Jessica Rangel, Senior Vice President of Innovation at HSC, said they have already gotten requests from various businesses and organizations. According to Rangel, the initiative is another effort to target areas that have had low vaccination and registration rates, but they are willing to work on logistics with anyone who makes a request.
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“It’s no secret. There’s lots of extra vaccines around, so we would like to be able to offer that to places that could use it,” she told NBC 5 Thursday. “We're excited to be able to able to go into communities where people can't travel or their mobility is limited. So, we will go into these communities and provide vaccine services. No pre-registration is required. We are delighted to have people walk up.”
The request form asks that submissions include information such as estimated attendance and capacity, location accessibility features and photos of the proposed space. There are also logistical factors such as parking availability, which will be considered in determining what locations are suitable for pop-up clinics.
HSC plans to equip its Mobile Clinic to administer the vaccine in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates and has partnered with OptumServe, a national veteran-led health care services business, to open and operate vaccine clinics. The mobile clinics will be free to organizations or community partners.
In a press release, HSC Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams explained the vaccination strategy is shifting away from larger static sites that were initially effective to smaller boutique pop-up sites in the community.
“As demand for the vaccine has decreased, data suggests that the larger static vaccine sites are no longer as effective as they were early in the vaccine rollout,” Dr. Trent-Adams said. “This next phase of vaccinations will require more one-on-one interactions and more mobile sites that operate for shorter times at locations and events where people live and work. It is essential to partner with businesses and organizations to make that happen.”
During a briefing before Tarrant County commissioners on Tuesday, Tarrant County Public Health director Vinny Taneja shared similar data. Tarrant County Public Health is planning to open a new site at the pavilion on Sundance Square next Friday, May 28.
Taneja said it will start out as a pop-up event, once a week.
“The goal is start on Friday, because that seems to be the heaviest day of foot traffic in the area,” he said. “As traffic grows and demand increases, we can expand the number of days there.”
According to county data released this week, more than 1.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Tarrant County.