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COVID-19 vaccine in Dallas County: 4 takeaways from Tuesday's commissioners' meeting

From QR codes to plans for expanded drive-thru options, Dallas County leaders discussed ways to improve the vaccine distribution process during Tuesday's meeting.

DALLAS — Dallas County commissioners met Tuesday for their weekly meeting. Here are four takeaways from their COVID-19 discussion that you should know:

QR codes are now being used to set up vaccine appointments

County leaders were originally sending online links to registered people to sign up for appointments. However, the county later discovered these links were being shared online, which caused confusion and the over-booking of appointments. 

“It’s very easy to forward the link to your friends right now,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Tuesday. “That is going to change later today and completely by tomorrow.”

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang told county commissioners that for the first time, they sent out QR codes Tuesday for people to use for their vaccine appointments on Wednesday.

Their hope is that these unique QR codes will prevent people from overbooking appointments and will also help speed up the entire process.

“We will hopefully, starting tomorrow, be paperless and not have to be entering all this data by hand so that we should get more timely data on who’s actually received the vaccine,” Dr. Huang said.

Dallas County's new call center is expected to launch this week

The goal of this new call center is to help reach the minority communities and get residents registered for the vaccine who might have limited access to the internet.

“I know the contractor is working on hiring Spanish language operators,” Dr. Huang said Tuesday.

Jenkins said they hope to get it up and running on Thursday.

The county is planning to expand the drive-thru option at Fair Park

The county added a drive-thru option at the Fair Park vaccination site, aimed at helping people with mobility issues.

DCHHS said they plan to expand this option even further.

“Our intention next week is to offer a larger scale drive-thru for the second doses of people who received their first dose at Fair Park as those numbers are going to start to increase. And we are trying to move then to a full scale, where drive-thru is the primary means of receiving the vaccine at Fair Park,” Huang said. “So that will, we think, address a lot of the other mobility issues and the other efficiency issues that we’ve been talking about.”

Huang also said during Tuesday’s meeting that their hope is to eventually be able to administer 1,000 shots per hour, modeling their process after what Nueces County, TX has put into place.

The county's goal is to set up their own reporting when it comes to vaccine distribution

“We’ve been dependent on the data coming back from the state through the state in-track system. It has very limited race-ethnicity data,” Huang said. “We’re in the process of implementing our new reporting system.”

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