Texans Worry Confusing Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Vulnerable Behind

State leaders continue to direct people to individual providers to find a vaccine

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Like a lot of Texans we hear from, Bill Bair is frustrated by the patchwork process to find a vaccine.

“It seems to be no one is doing things in a proactive way,” said Bair. “People have to go out and find it or you can miss out.”

The 66-year-old from Allen said navigating websites, waitlists and phone calls gets confusing.

One viewer in an email to NBC 5 wrote, “Are we suppose to call every location that received a vaccine and try to be placed on 20, 30, 50, 100 waitlists?”

The answer from the state – yes.

We asked the Texas Department of State Health if the state would be working to set-up one centralized sign-up process.

A spokesperson again told us people should sign up with individual providers.

On Monday the state launched 28 hubs to vaccinate thousands of people a day, but you must scroll through the list to find each individual hub’s waitlist.

For example, Dallas’ Fair Park and Arlington’s E-Sports Arena are open to everyone in the region regardless of where you live, but those sites work off separate waitlists.

Fair Park vaccinates people off the Dallas County waitlist.

The Tarrant County Resource Center and Arlington’s E-Sports Arena vaccinate people off the Tarrant County waitlist.

“A Texan is capable and able to receive a vaccine in any county in the state of Texas,” said Governor Greg Abbott on Monday.

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:

Waitlist Links: Collin - Search Waitlist | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant

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.

Yet, not every county is receiving a large number of vaccines or has a ‘mega hub.’

On Tuesday Collin County leaders sent a letter to the state calling on them to give them more vaccines so they can host large-scale clinics.

NBC 5 reached out for an on-camera interview with Collin County Judge Chris Hill to get more answers about the county's vaccine plans.

We asked the Texas Department of State Health how decisions are being made regarding vaccine distribution and why Collin County has not received large vaccine amounts like surrounding counties.

Texas DSHS sent NBC5 the following statement:

About 40,000 doses have been allocated to providers in Collin County so far. With the early focus on health care workers in the first few weeks, much of the vaccine went to large providers who vaccinated their employees who live across a wide area. As far as the hub providers go, the initial hubs were based on the ability of those providers to quickly arrange and execute larger vaccination efforts. We expect there to be more hub sites in suburban and smaller communities next week. Collin County has contracted with a company to operate large sites and told us that they will be accept vaccine in 2-3 weeks.

Governor Abbott told reporters Monday the biggest challenge facing the state is supply.

For people like Bill, his biggest worry is how the state’s process may be leaving its most vulnerable behind.

“I’m so concerned about older people than me who have never used the internet or computer,” said Bill. “Who is helping these poor people out? They should be the first on the list and I’m afraid they’re going to be the last.”

Anyone without internet access can call 817-248-6299 to get on the COVID-19 vaccine waitlist in Tarrant County

Dallas County said it is working on setting up a hotline for those without access to online registration.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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