Plans for new COVID-19 vaccination sites are in the works in order to help expand access in underserved and hard-to-reach communities in Tarrant County.
According to the University of North Texas Health Science Center, one site is planned for a church in the Stop Six neighborhood in east Fort Worth. There are also additional sites in north and west Fort Worth under consideration, a press release from the university states.
The efforts on expansion are through a contract between UNTHSC and OptumServe, as part of an agreement established between the university and Tarrant County to address vaccine access. News of the planned sites was welcomed Tuesday by Tarrant County Commissioners.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said he would like to see a site in northwest Tarrant County, where there are currently none.
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“That’s the important thing right now is we want locations and sites that are ready to open up full time when we get plenty of vaccines in here to keep them all working,” Whitley said.
Whitley said where he is frustrated is the vaccine allocation from the state. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Tarrant County providers are receiving 36,700 COVID-19 first doses this week.
Tarrant County providers are receiving 36,700 first doses for this week, according to Texas DSHS. Of that, the Texas DSHS’s Week 14 list shows the county’s hub providers are getting 10,480 doses.
“Just public health alone, currently we easily could get out about 40,000 a week. So, we’re running about one-quarter of our capacity,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said. “When you add in our partner sites in Arlington and Baylor, Scott & White, the TCU drive-through ... the capacity is there. We’re just not getting enough vaccine.”
Whitley pointed to the state’s data system, which he criticized as ‘archaic.’
“I’m extremely frustrated with the state, from a standpoint, because of their data system, which is archaic and I think needs to be completely overhauled. They are not getting accurate accounts from the vaccines that are being distributed by some of the clinical providers, TRA, some of their providers,” Whitley said. “TRA, I know is basically trying to do a reconcilement to show the state that they’ve got the information, but they’re not properly accounting for it.”
NBC 5 reached out to Texas DSHS regarding the concerns.
In an email, spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said the department and the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel “try to get vaccination allocation roughly proportional to the county population to be as fair as possible.”
A map provided to NBC 5 shows the proportion of vaccines allocated to counties compared with their proportion of the adult population through last week.
“Almost all are within a quarter of a percentage point, through there are some local variations due to where vaccine providers are located or counties collaborating on vaccination,” Van Deusen wrote.
According to Tarrant County Public Health, more than 436,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Tarrant County to date. The county’s vaccine dashboard is expected to update every Wednesday.