Texas DSHS working to streamline COVID-19 vaccine registration by creating regional system

The Texas Department of State Health Services is working to create a regional system where people can register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

It's in an effort to streamline the registration system, and would be optional for health departments to opt in.

The state is also discussing who should be a part of the next vaccination group, 1C.

In the parking lot of a strip plaza in West Oak Cliff, North Texans stood in line Friday to register to get on the waiting list for the COVID-19 vaccine.

That particular list is with Dallas County.

"Doesn't matter which one it is, I'm going to get one. I want to see if I can go ahead and register my wife too, she's a teacher," 68-year-old Rodolfo Garcia said.

Garcia is trying to get on as many lists as possible.

All of the major counties in North Texas now have their own, which can make the process of getting registered tedious and time consuming, especially for the most vulnerable.

So the state is working on streamlining the registration process.

"We are working through a system for our regions that some health departments can opt in to, but it would be an option for folks," said Imelda Garcia, with DSHS.

But right now, there is no timeline, so the state is urging vaccination sites to prioritize those who are 75 and older, and create "fast lanes" at mega vaccination hubs for the most vulnerable populations.

"Some of these could be setting aside a specific number of doses, serving them during special hours," Garcia said.

The state is also in the process of trying to determine who should be a part of the next vaccination group, 1C, which under CDC guidelines, would be a broad range of essential workers.

Officials were asked if that might include teachers.

"As soon we have that information on the eligible populations, and Dr. Hellerstad approves that, we will be sharing that forward," Garcia said.

For now, Texans, like Linda Bryant, who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine as part of group 1B, are eager to get their turn.

"I'm just going to wait and see how it goes, get the shot," Bryans said.

Garcia said her office is trying to expand the list of providers who get the vaccine, including doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and even organizations like Meals on Wheels, who provide in-home services to more vulnerable residents in need of the vaccine.