Update on COVID-19 vaccines for the city of Dallas

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center opens to provide COVID vaccinations. – Photo courtesy of the city of Dallas

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

City of Dallas to receive 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week

Like the 5,000 Moderna vaccine doses that the city of Dallas received this week, the Pfizer vaccines are now being distributed to the public at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. City officials stated they are working through logistical issues posed by distributing the Pfizer vaccine.

The city’s vaccine-distribution operations at the convention center began Thursday, and 1,171 residents received the first dose of their Moderna vaccine on the first day in an appointment-based, invitation-only system. In addition, the city of Dallas also distributed 258 second doses of the Moderna vaccine Thursday to its first responders.

“We are still working through some hiccups, which is to be expected in a large operation such as this one, but overall, the vaccination process has gone smoothly for our eligible residents,” said Mayor Eric Johnson, who serves as the city’s Emergency Management Director. “The short supply of vaccines, combined with an overwhelming demand, has created significant issues across the country, but we are grateful to have the opportunity to help the federal, state, and county governments’ efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible.”

Dallas Fire-Rescue will continue running the drive-through operations at the convention center for now. The Dallas Office of Emergency Management, led by Emergency Management Coordinator Rocky Vaz, is coordinating requests for resources, volunteers, and other duties.

Those who are registered with Dallas County, the city’s contracted public health authority, and who are eligible to receive the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the city of Dallas to make an appointment at the convention center.

Residents with technological challenges can call 214-671-4456 for assistance. The city is working to address a high call volume at the number.

For answers to frequently asked questions, the city has set up a vaccination website. Information about the locations of city-sponsored vaccination registration hubs can be found on the site.

Residents can also register for the vaccine wait list through http://www.dallascountycovid.org.

 

SMU loans subzero freezer to the city of Dallas for COVID-19 vaccine storage

Southern Methodist University on Monday temporarily loaned a subzero freezer to the city of Dallas to help store the new allotment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Mayor Eric Johnson made the request of SMU on Friday after the State of Texas notified the city of Dallas that it would receive 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for public distribution. The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -80 degrees Celsius, which is far colder than what was required to store the city’s allotment of the Moderna vaccine last week.

The subzero freezer had been used in the Department of Biological Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“When we determined that we needed help with our vaccine distribution efforts, SMU made for a natural partner,” said Mayor Johnson, who has cultivated a growing a relationship between the university and the city. “This massive undertaking will require our community to work together, and I am incredibly grateful to SMU for stepping up during our city’s time of need.”

“SMU was eager to loan the freezer as soon as we learned of the need,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Our partnership with the city of Dallas is important, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help support vaccinating the community as quickly as possible.”

The city ordered a subzero freezer last year, but it has yet to arrive because of high demand. The loan of the freezer will not delay or disrupt SMU’s plans to distribute vaccines to its campus when they become available to the university, which is partially located in Dallas city limits.

The 23-cubic-foot freezer arrived Monday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where the city gave out more than 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week. The city will resume vaccinations with the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday and Thursday at the convention center. Methodist Dallas Medical Center, in partnership with the city, will also give out 3,000 of the Pfizer vaccine doses on Thursday and Friday.

The vaccines are given on an appointment-only basis, and only those who are invited directly by the city of Dallas or Methodist Health System will have their appointments honored. To receive an invitation, residents must be eligible under 1A or 1B criteria and must be registered on Dallas County’s COVID-19 vaccine wait list.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit http://www.dallascityhall.com/covid19.

 

Dallas County, city of Dallas partner with business community leaders to urge COVID-19 vaccine waitlist registration

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia joined Dallas Council Members Adam Medrano, Chad West, Casey Thomas, Omar Narvaez, Adam Bazaldua, Paula Blackmon, David Blewett, and Dallas business leaders Friday to urge registration at DallasCountyCovid.org in order receive the COVID-19 vaccine when more doses become available.

“Registration is important, and we need everyone’s help to register as many 1B residents as possible,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “I’m thankful for all the elected, business and community leaders who have taken on this challenge and are registering their neighbors.”

The public may register for the Dallas County waiting list used by vaccine hubs including Dallas County Health and Human Services, Baylor University Medical Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland Health & Hospital System, and the city of Dallas at http://www.dallascountycovid.org or 469-749-9900.

“We can accomplish so much more by working together,” said Dallas Councilman Chad West, “which is why I’m thankful that County and City elected leaders are committed to working with our business leaders to register as many people in Dallas as possible for this life saving vaccine.”

Starting Thursday, Dallas County will extend phone registration hours and offer a new toll-free phone number for residents without internet access.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and I encourage you to register for it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano. “While we continue to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, please wear a mask, practice social distancing and proper hygiene to slow the spread.”

Many Dallas Council members are hosting community registration events at various locations. Dallas Public Library locations and Park and Recreation Staff are also available by phone to help residents without internet access or mobile devices get registered. For more information about the City’s COVID-19 resources, residents may call (214) 670-INFO (4636) or visit DallasCityHall.com/COVID19

“The sooner our business community registers their employees for the COVID-19 vaccination, the sooner Dallas will be back in business,” said Dallas Regional Chamber CEO Dale Petroskey. “The business community is proud to unite with City and county elected officials on this critical issue.”

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