Email meant to clarify Tarrant County vaccine registration causes more confusion

Tarrant County is trying to address confusion about vaccinations.

The county is trying to make registering online more helpful, but an email sent to thousands of people did the opposite.

The email many people received from the county on Tuesday was well-intentioned. But for most, it only created more chaos and confusion. They say they’re having trouble getting answers.

Paul Hakes has diabetes and signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine through the Tarrant County Public Health website nearly three weeks ago.

"I've been waiting all along," he said. "And then I woke up this morning at 3 o'clock to head into work and I had this email from Tarrant county."

Hakes thought the email would have his appointment information. Instead, he said it had pertinent information without any real dates or names. So he started emailing and calling county health leaders with no response.

Tarrant County Health Director Vinny Taneja says the emails were supposed to give people information on where they stand to get the vaccine.

It was something new meant to be helpful along with a button on the Tarrant County vaccine registration page that allows people to check where they are on the list.

Dr. Taneja says about 15,000 correct emails went out before a system glitch dispatched several thousand emails with jumbled numbers instead of status information. It was an issue Tarrant County has tried to address in tweets.

People registering for the vaccine in Dallas County are also concerned about waiting in limbo with no idea when to expect a response. They are hoping Dallas County might implement new tools like Tarrant county is attempting to do.

Those registered in Dallas County report receiving a text they’re supposed to show when they arrive at their appointment. But there’s no appointment information or hint as to when they might receive the appointment information.

As for Hakes, he just wants to get to the bottom of the Tarrant County confusion so he doesn’t miss his shot.

"I just want to make sure that I was covered," he said. "I didn't expect to be on the first top of list. I just want to make sure when moved down to where you know I fit in the list, that I was able to get that."

Tarrant County health leaders ask for patience. They are resending the emails this time with correct information in small batches, so it’s going to take a little time.