DALLAS — While lines to get into the Fair Park mega-site seem to go on forever, the vaccine supply certainly does not.
Dallas County Health and Human Services said late Thursday the site would be closed on Friday because it has already administered the 9,000 doses received this week from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
There are more than 300,000 people who have signed up to receive the vaccine, either through the county’s online registration or by phone. It’s a waiting list that grows larger each day, but it is who has registered so far that has the attention of South Dallas advocates like Tabitha Wheeler.
“The issue is the registration process, the accessibility,” Wheeler said.
Accessibility in parts of the city that skew older, lower-income and predominately people of color with limited online access. It’s the population county data reflects are most at risk for the worst effects of COVID-19.
Dallas County already knows the 11 ZIP codes most affected.
County data indicates about 600,000 people live in those ZIP codes — all of which, except for one, are south of Interstate 30. Dallas County Health and Human Services says, as of this week, 26,791 people in the 1B vaccine population have signed up.
The 1B population consists of adults over the age of 65 or those with a pre-existing condition between the ages of 16-64.
Dallas City Councilmember Adam Bazaldua and four other councilmembers this week proposed creating hubs in their districts to get more people signed up.
Bazaldua pointed to county data, which shows seven of the eleven most affected ZIP codes reside in his District 7 seat, which covers parts of South and East Dallas.
“That means the access to the registration is the actual problem,” Bazaldua said.
At a press conference outside the Fair Park mega-site entrance Thursday, Bazaldua blamed Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson for opposing his efforts and slowing down the ability of councilmembers to get people signed up in their respective districts.
In a statement to WFAA, Johnson responded the city is preparing to help aid the county in getting more people signed up, but would do so in a targeted way, citing a limited amount of resources and personnel to place a sign-up hub at any location requested by an individual councilmember.
“I have tasked my designated emergency management coordinator to develop a data-based plan for outreach and distribution,” Johnson said. “I appreciate those of my colleagues who have offered their thoughts and support of the city’s efforts in a constructive way rather than through publicity stunts.”
A spokesperson added the director of the city's Office Of Emergency Management may complete identifying locations to target outreach for vaccine signup by the end of the week.
Wheeler says everyone is trying to find ways to help Dallas County reach those who need the vaccine most to sign up.
“This was most definitely not a publicity stunt,” Wheeler said.