Dallas County stepping up efforts to vaccinate underserved areas

A large amount of COVID vaccines are available to Texans this week.

The head of the CDC said on Monday that vaccine sites are keeping seniors across the U.S. from catching serious cases of COVID-19.

More than 75% of those 65 and older have gotten at least one dose and nearly 55% are fully vaccinated. But there is a surge in cases nationally among younger adults.

With Dallas County nearly caught up on its waitlist, efforts are now targeting specific zip codes and underserved areas.

Organizers are aiming to vaccinate about 200 people a day this week in the 75216 zip code in hopes of reaching people that haven’t been able to get the vaccine at other city and county sites.

"We have actually sent out a message, an invitation for appointments to everyone on our waitlist at least once," said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang. "We’re almost in real time now so people who sign up on the waitlist, we can get appointments in the next day or this week. So we really encourage people to sign up get on the waitlist as soon as possible."

The county is also hiring dozens more people to handle in-person sign-ups and to reach homebound individuals.

"We are working with some of the cities, I know Cedar Hill is now. We’ve given them some vaccine to go out and give it to their homebound population," Dr. Huang said. "We’re working with the city of Dallas. They’re going to start probably at the end of this week to distribute some to their homebound."

Pop-up clinics, like the one at Good Street Baptist Church, are also helping to reach vulnerable communities.

"We do know that many of the homes, these vaccines need to go in probably don’t have computers or internet," Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church Pastor David Wilson. "Many of the people we’re attempting to service don’t have transportation to sit in a line."

The church partnered with Nexgen Specialty Pharmacy to administer 1,500 doses.

"They have a connection with the church here so they’re able to call their local church and get the church secretary on the phone and walk them through the registration process," said Michelle Clark, with Nexgen Specialty Pharmacy.

They’re bringing the vaccine directly to people, like Otis Woods, whose wife had to travel much further to get her vaccine.

"We live in Red Oak, and she had to drive all the way to Allen," Woods said. "That’s what I’m talking about, community as a whole, the church is right here. We can go right up the street and get it."

Organizers at Good Street Baptist Church say they are looking to host popup clinics at other churches in underserved communities.

Those interested in getting vaccinated can contact Good Street Baptist Church at (214)375-4266 or contact Nexgen Specialty Pharmacy at (855)526-5257 or visit https://nexgenpharm.com/.