Tarrant County teams up with UNT Health Science Center to distribute more vaccine

In Tarrant County, a deal was struck with UNT's Health Science Center to create a comprehensive vaccination plan.

COVID-19 vaccine lines in Tarrant County have been long and predominantly white.

Tarrant County Public Health Director Dr. Vinny Taneja says there are small improvements with vaccine registrants in the Asian and Hispanic communities.

"77% registering are white. Only 6% are Black," Dr. Taneja said.

 "We need to do a better job with of trying to get the word out and getting folks familiar with how they register, especially if they are not computer literate," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

Tarrant County Public Health and its providers have administered 45,000 doses so far. But before they decide where to open new sites, the county needs the vaccine supply to do so.

Tarrant County is scheduled to receive a total of 5,775 doses this week.

In the meantime, there are more concerns as Arlington’s mega vaccine hub on Tuesday was out of its supply.

"I don’t want to wake up in two weeks and have 100,000 vaccines and we don’t have the capability of getting them out," Whitley said.

The reaction is with anticipation for a significant influx of doses once President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration takes over.

In a major step to expand access, commissioners unanimously approve hiring the University of North Texas Health Science Center to fast track a comprehensive plan, including partnerships with houses of worship, shopping centers, worksites, schools, entertainment venues and more.

"We need to bring every tool we possibly can to address the need in Tarrant county for those who are not already engaged we need to offer them the opportunity to become engaged," said Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams with UNT Health Science Center.

"We’re going to do whatever it takes to get the shots in the arms as quickly as possible," Whitley said.

The county says it’s also unclear whether these future vaccination sites will be staffed with medically trained county personnel, UNT staff or professionals in surrounding counties.

A UNT spokesperson says they don’t have a timeline yet, but Whitley says he looks forward to getting the process started in the next few days.

The county is also mindful of the new administration taking over Wednesday,  which may change the amount of vaccine the county can access.

They’re also looking north to Denton County as a model for setting up a drive-thru site within a short period of time.