Tarrant County Leaders Pushing State To Reverse Plan To Cut COVID-19 Vaccine Allocations – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County’s elected officials expressed frustration on Tuesday, February 23, with a change in COVID-19 vaccine assignments that would not increase doses and potentially limit the places they are available.
As FEMA prepares to open a federal vaccine hub at Globe Life Field this week, the county is not receiving any new first doses of vaccine from the state.
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Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said during a county commissioners meeting that he understood that the county may not receive doses for three weeks.
This could lead to vaccine hubs that have been operating for months in Fort Worth, Hurst, and Arlington closing unless new doses are reassigned.
In the meantime, all available cans would be at the federal location in Arlington.
“I’m not going to say that I was misled,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley on Tuesday. “I will say that we have been misunderstood. Because we made it clear at every turn that there were 21,000 additional vaccines shipped with FEMA staff and that it would not affect our weekly allocations from the state. “
Whitley said he will be in touch with state officials this week and hopes they will re-establish the assignments. County sites are operating on 5,800 doses this week being carried over to them by Texas Health Resources.
Whitley on Tuesday extended an executive order calling on companies to have a health and safety policy that includes wearing a face covering. The requirement, which was first ordered at the end of June, is now valid until May 25th.
Whitley said the order can be canceled at any time if circumstances change.
When asked what could cause him to stop ordering masks, Whitley said the county needs to be closer to getting 50% to 60% of the population vaccinated.
New data, updated Tuesday by the health department, shows that roughly 10% of the county’s residents received at least one dose of vaccine and 4% received full two-dose therapy.
CONTINUE READING: Tarrant County is trying to get more people to register for the COVID-19 vaccine
Whitley said he believed the county could vaccinate up to 110,000 people a day if he had the supply.
However, registrations for the vaccine slowed significantly after strong demand earlier in the year.
About 45,000 people have registered in the past two weeks, a number the county sometimes saw in just two days in early January.
Taneja said he thought the first group of registrants who were qualified and ready to be vaccinated were largely exhausted. The county should now motivate people to register.
Taneja also asked the County Commissioners to approve a plan to prioritize vaccine appointments by dropping registrants on a Social Vulnerability Index instead of when they sign up or based on the case rate they live in.
The federal index uses factors such as socioeconomic status, minority status, language, housing type, and transportation to identify those who may need more assistance during a disaster.
After the health department first launched the idea a few weeks ago, it identified zip codes primarily on the southeast side of Forth Worth and the east side of Arlington, where the county’s residents would be most vulnerable.
The priority plan would use up to 50% of the doses available to go to people from those areas first before anyone else signs up.
A previous zip code priority plan based solely on zip codes with the highest case rates resulted in an increase in complaints from county officials.
Whitley and Commissioner Gary Fickes both questioned the percentage of doses that were included in a plan. According to Taneja, the vaccine distribution would be more equitable.
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Taneja said if there weren’t enough registrants falling under the SVI, the remaining doses would not be withheld but would continue to go to anyone who was qualified, in the order in which they registered.