DALLAS - As more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine reach North Texas, many people now want to know how and where they can get one.
Should people register with their county, talk to their doctor, or inquire at their local pharmacy?
The answer is all of the above.
For now, health leaders are encouraging frontline workers, senior citizens and people with high-risk health conditions – the so-called Phase 1A and 1B groups – to get on as many registration lists as they can where they can.
While vaccine supply remains extremely limited and only for these priority groups, the hope is it will soon flow a lot more freely to a lot more people.
"The only way you're going to get on those lists is to register," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Beginning on Monday, Jan. 11, Dallas County will open a mega COVID-19 vaccine distribution center at Fair Park. But, everyone must have an appointment and no walk-ups will be allowed.
The mega site is expected to receive about 2,000 shots per day, while two small vaccine locations at the Ellis Davis Field House and on the Eastfield College campus in Mesquite will vaccinate about 500 Parkland Hospital patients per day.
Jenkins also advised people to talk to their doctors about availability.
"Unfortunately, you've got to look at every doctor you've seen, who they're affiliated with, and get on their list," he said.
(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Some hospital systems like Baylor Scott & White are still focused on vaccinating staff. For now, they are asking the public to sign up online for updates on when they will begin administering shots to the community.
And pharmacy chains like CVS are already administering shots at nursing homes through a federal program. They said they’re ready to roll out to the public but need state go-ahead.
They are subject to vaccine supply and population prioritization determined by the state.
"Fortunately, we have a fairly flexible for the digital front end. It was developed for the testing but it will be applicable where we can put appropriate screening questions in place to make sure that the people who we are vaccinating at this particular stage are the people we should be vaccinating," said Dr. Troy Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Health.
Jenkins said the goal is to have a state-run hub website up and running by the end of the month. Until then, he still encourages people, despite age or condition, to try to register with their county for when vaccine supply starts matching demand.
"If you wait until a half a million people have signed up, it's going to be that much longer before we get to your shot," he added.
Find & Register for a Vaccine
TEXAS DSHS VACCINE INFO: The state health department has lists and maps that are updated regularly with vaccine provider and allocation information. www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx
DALLAS COUNTY: To get a vaccine at Dallas County’s COVID-19 vaccine mega site at Fair Park, residents must register online at www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination.php. The county is currently working on setting up a hotline for residents without a computer. For all other COVID-19 inquires, call 972-692-2780. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9-5 p.m. The county is also encouraging all residents to check the list from DSHS or reach out to their current healthcare provider to find a vaccine.
TARRANT COUNTY: Tarrant County can register for a vaccine appointment at tcph.quickbase.com/db/bq3q4uet8. Residents who do not have access to a computer can call 817-248-6299. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8-5 p.m.
COLLIN COUNTY: The Collin County Health Department’s waitlist and vaccine registration website is located at www.collincountytx.gov/healthcare_services/Pages/COVID19vaccines.aspx. For questions, contact 972-548-4744 weekdays from 7:30-11 a.m. & 1-4 p.m.