Dallas County to consider QR code system for COVID-19 vaccine registration

Dallas County’s vaccination site at Fair Park is closed this weekend.

They’re out of COVID-19 vaccines until Monday. In the meantime, leaders are debating how to efficiently deliver vaccinations to the ones who need it most.

"But we have a lot more demand than we have supply," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Jenkins said county commissioners will vote on an emergency contract next week to hire a vendor to develop a QR code system, which he said will ensure ones registering for a vaccination are the ones actually getting it.

Last week, a breach in the online registration system allowed the link to be shared across social media, allowing people who did not meet the age 75 and older requirement to get appointments.

That’s an issue considering supplies are limited.

The county can issue, roughly, 3,000 vaccines a day. Jenkins said the QR code system will also speed up the process at Fair Park.

"Means that we can probably do about twice as many people an hour when the vaccines are available. So we can do like 6,000 a day, now we only get 9,000 a week right now, but we’ve got to build that throughout for when we get more vaccine," Jenkins said.

"Right now is a time to test things," Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch said.

Koch feuded with Jenkins Wednesday after Jenkins notified the state of an order that was initiated by Koch and approved by commissioners to prioritize vaccines for 11 Dallas County zip codes labeled as "vulnerable populations."

The state threatened to pull the county’s supply because prioritizing certain communities does not comply with state mandates, so commissioners rescinded the order and agreed to meet to discuss a new plan.

Koch believes that even though the Fair Park site is delivering all its shots, it’s not representing demographics of those hit hardest by COVID-19.

"Putting the shots in arms is a ridiculously low bar, and we should be ashamed of ourselves if that’s our only goal," Koch said.

But Jenkins took issue with Koch’s now-rescinded order because it exclusively prioritized certain zip codes, while leaving others out.

Next week, the county is also voting on expanding a registration call center for English and Spanish speaking residents.

"Online is still the easiest way," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the county is still seeing people show up to Fair Park who mistakenly received a registration link passed throughout social media. Earlier this week, he said they tried to give some prioritization to people of color.

"But you won’t see that in the numbers because, without a QR code system, you’re still seeing people get links," he added.