Dallas officials plan to open a new COVID-19 vaccine site in the southwestern part of the city next week as they begin moving their efforts away from the downtown convention center. The city also plans to hand over the entire vaccination process to an outside group.
The city will receive 3,000 new doses next week, down from 5,000 in recent weeks, with plans for them to be distributed at an overflow parking lot at The Potter’s House church at 6777 W. Kiest Blvd. near Mountain Creek Lake.
A deal is being finalized with an outside vendor to oversee the entire process, said Rocky Vaz, the city’s emergency management director. The vendor, which he declined to name citing ongoing negotiations, is a national group that said it has the capacity to distribute up to 6,000 shots a day, Vaz said.
The goal next week is to vaccinate 1,000 people a day in the church parking lot.
The church is among several groups with large sites that the city is trying to tap to host mass vaccination operations, Vaz said, and plans are in the works to expand to other areas once the city gets more vaccines.
The reason for the switch away from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is to alleviate traffic congestion downtown and allow city firefighters to return to their primary jobs rather than administering vaccines, he said.
“Everything from scheduling to vaccinating to site security to site management will all be on the vendor,” Vaz said. The city took requests for proposals to administer the vaccines in January.
The group will continue to pull names from people who have registered with Dallas County for vaccines.
The city’s vaccination efforts are occurring in tandem with Dallas County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which are inoculating thousands of people a day at Fair Park in South Dallas. The federal inoculation efforts are expected to continue for at least six weeks and are focused on people from 17 ZIP codes that have been hit hard by COVID-19 or are cut off from a traditional health care system. FEMA is also doling out doses at two state sites in Arlington and in Houston.
The group working with the city will accept eligible Texans who have registered, Vaz said.
A church spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the plan.
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Source: Dallas Morning News