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COVID-19 vaccines in Denton County are in short supply

More than 110,000 people have registered for a COVID-19 vaccine in Denton County. The county has only received 6,000 doses so far.

DENTON COUNTY, Texas — COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Denton County can only cover about 5 percent of the demand, according to public health officials, who are also worried some people will not receive second doses of the vaccine.

“This is a serious situation,” said Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson. “We are still very much in an environment of scarcity.”

In a presentation to county commissioners, Richardson said more than 110,000 people have registered on the county’s vaccine dashboard, but so far, the county has only been allotted 6,000 vaccines to give out.

Vaccines will likely not be available to everyone until April or May.

RELATED: COVID-19 updates: Dallas County health officials report 27 more deaths, including woman in her 30s

“Demand far exceeds supply right now,” Richardson said. “We are still incredibly early in the process."

Denton County reported three new COVID-19 deaths Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths to 268 since tracking began in March. Hospitalization numbers are still a concern, but the county saw a decline in ICU occupancy from almost 97 percent last Wednesday to just over 88 percent last Friday.

The health department is facing another problem: making sure those that receive the first dose of the vaccine return for the second.

“I’m sure that it won’t be a 100 percent return,” Richardson said. “That’s going to be, no doubt, a statewide and a national concern.”

In Denton County, recipients must receive the second dose at the same place they received the first, and the booster must be from the same manufacturer, Richardson said.

“You cannot mix and match,” Richardson said. “If you got the Moderna or the Pfizer, you must get that as a booster.”

The CDC is encouraging vaccine recipients to sign up for a free text messaging service that will remind people when it’s time to get a second dose. The worry is some recipients might forget about it, or not even know they need the second dose.

With a limited supply of first doses and booster compliance still in question, Richardson says families should continue to follow the same basic safety practices health officials have been stressing for almost a year.

“Masks do work,” Richardson said. “Physical distancing is important.”

Click here to see the latest COVID-19 statistics in Denton County.