DALLAS — The mayor of Dallas believes a partnership with a local hospital could help alleviate some issues with COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Mayor Eric Johnson announced Monday that Dallas is partnering with Methodist Dallas Medical Center to assist in distributing a significant amount of vaccine the municipality is expected to receive.
Word of this partnership came after complaints of long lines, confusion, and hours-long waits for vaccine at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center over the weekend.
”To all of those who waited in line for hours on end, I want to say that I’m sorry. We are sorry,” Johnson said during a news conference on Monday.
Johnson was joined by a delegation of state lawmakers from Dallas and representatives from Methodist Dallas Medical Center, who toured the vaccine distribution site prior to the news conference.
Johnson explained part of the hiccup that lead to bottlenecks on Saturday was the unauthorized sharing of vaccine appointment links.
Dallas County experienced a similar issue when it rolled out the Fair Park vaccine distribution hub several weeks ago. People showing up without appointments also added to delays.
”The bottom line, we simply need a better scheduling system than we have. The one that we have is just not going to cut it for the long term,” Johnson said.
An improved appointment system is expected to go live in a few days, according to city staff.
The partnership with Methodist Dallas Medical Center would include the hospital distributing about two-thirds of the 4,875 doses of vaccine the City of Dallas is expected to receive.
Dallas Emergency Operations Coordinator Rocky Vaz explained the city will start distributing its portion of the vaccine on Wednesday and Thursday. Methodist, as its new partner, will be administering 1,500 doses both Thursday and Friday.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s administrators believe the process should be smooth, since it's been administering vaccine since December 2020.
”We want to help the citizens of this region, but especially the citizens of the southern sector to receive the vaccine. Those who struggle the most and actually having access to health care,” said Pam Stoyanoff, president and chief operating officer of Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
Johnson and state lawmakers continued urging everyone to get registered for the vaccine and following the rules for appointments.