COVID-19 vaccines

U.S. Rep. Van Duyne Tours North Texas Vaccination Hubs

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First-term congresswoman U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving) spent Friday touring vaccination hubs in Tarrant, Denton and Dallas counties.

All the counties have experienced different challenges, but leaders agreed the single biggest roadblock is supply and not knowing when they'll get more doses.

"I think every single day something new is developing. This is something we've never seen before. So, I think all of us from the local, the county, the state, the federal level need to do everything we can to make sure we are aggressively pursuing opening our economy back up and keeping people safe, which means getting vaccines out," Van Duyne said.

In Denton County, a waiting list of people in the state's top two priority groups is 120,000 names long.

In Tarrant and Dallas Counties, there are closer to 340,000 people waiting.

Beyond scarcity of the vaccine, leaders say they're struggling with getting enough volunteers in place at vaccination hubs along with not knowing week to week how many vaccines they'll get.

Denton County Director of Public Health Dr. Matt Richardson said it's a problem that leads to staffing issues and short notice for those next in line.

"We're only going to invite when we have the vaccine on hand. So we are waiting on those shipments of vaccine to arrive, and then we deploy those appointments as quickly as possible," said Richardson.

The counties are also struggling with the high cost of running vaccination hubs that see thousands each day. In Dallas County, health officials told Van Duyne that can cost tens of thousands of dollars each day.

"CARES Act money has run out, essentially for these things, so we're going to need more help. We're going to need another round of assistance for that," said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

As she wrapped her tour, Van Duyne agreed with the need for finances and supplies.

"Right now, what we need to focus on is making sure we get all of these stumbling blocks out of the way for manufacturing of new vaccines, and making sure we're doing it in a safe manner," said Van Duyne.

She also said she stands behind efforts being made by local governments to share best practices as they try to improve operations.

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