COVID-19 vaccine strategies change as supply dwindles across North Texas

County leaders across North Texas are starting to come up with new ways to get more people vaccinated.

Supply is outpacing demand, so we are starting to see a shift toward smaller vaccination clinics and even the idea of paying people to get vaccinated is being floated.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, like other leaders across the state, has too much COVID-19 vaccine and too few takers.

"We have over 100,000 vaccines that we can put in people’s arms if we can find people to put them in," he said.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services sent out a letter on Friday acknowledging "demand is shifting" away from mega-sites toward smaller more convenient options.

They are encouraging local leaders to advise the state of any "new strategies" they’re using where the state can help and alerting providers it will "only place orders matching the amounts requested by providers, rather than drawing down all doses in the state allotment."

Both Tarrant and Dallas County leaders say they are reaching out to the unvaccinated through social media and community groups, encouraging businesses and churches to hold their own pop-up sites.

In the coming weeks, Dallas County is holding small clinics in Deep Ellum in hopes of capturing younger folks on a night out.

"So you are out. You’ve been vaccinated, but your knucklehead boyfriend hasn’t been vaccinated yet. But maybe you can talk him into it," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

"If somebody was offering a $50 bill to go get it, maybe they’d show up," Whitley said.

In Tarrant Count, one idea floated was offering a $50 cash incentive paid for by American Rescue Plan money.

Judge Whitley says the idea is derailed for now by federal law, but he’s not giving up just yet.

"One of the things that I thought I would do is at least call some of our congressional folks and say is there any way you can give a temporary exception," he said.

County leaders know they have to act fast.

As Jenkins points out, about 7,000 people will get second doses at Fair Park Monday. But it’s those critical first doses and getting people to get in line that’s most concerning.

"If only 1,500 people come in for a first shot today, that means 28 days from now only 1500 will come in for a second shot," Jenkins said.