Tarrant County

Tarrant County Prepares For COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

While no COVID vaccine candidate has been approved, leaders are looking at the best ways to get any future vaccine to the public

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Rising COVID numbers only add to the pressures on those in charge of getting a future vaccine out to the public.

Born out of a need to provide healthcare during a pandemic, the Tarrant County Health Department went mobile, creating pop-up clinics to serve its clients.

Those tents then became COVID-19 testing sites.

"We have already seen how the drive-thru testing works really well," said Tarrant County Public Health Division Manager for Immunization Erin R Beasley.

It has worked so well, the county has converted the sites into flu shot drive-thrus.

This past Saturday, workers at once such site were able to vaccinate more than 300 people in one afternoon.

Now, leaders are planning for the next conversion: COVID-19 vaccine drive-thrus.

"What we've done is just have to get really creative on how to take care of our patient," said Beasley.

Any future COVID vaccine will go to the high-risk population and essential workers first, but Beasley is already looking at the challenges of getting the vaccine to the general public.

It may be mid 2021 by the time that happens.

That's a hot time of year in Texas and not ideal for administering a COVID vaccine that has to be stored in sub-freezing temperatures.

"We have already looked at what that will entail as far as storage and handling. The CDC has provided us with great guidance for what that will look like," said Beasley.

They're also updating software to help track who gets the vaccine and who still has to return for their second dose of the two-part COVID vaccine.

"It's not something that we can make them do but we will do as much as we can," said Beasley.

There are still many unknowns, like how long vaccine protection lasts or if it's a vaccine people will need every year.

It's going to take time to find those answers.

"Be patient with us but we are are going to be there for you," said Beasley.

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