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Dallas County Will Try Again To Send State Supplied Vaccines To Its Most Vulnerable

A long line of people stand, waiting for their vaccines.
Keren Carrión
There were long lines mostly comprised of seniors and their caretakers on opening day of the mega vaccine center at Fair Park, in Dallas, on Jan. 11, 2021.

Commissioners planned on sending their small supply of vaccines to zip codes with mostly communities of color and elderly residents. But the state says that's unfair to equally vulnerable residents outside those zip codes.

Dallas County Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting Friday to ensure a continued supply of COVID-19 vaccines from the state. That’s because the state said county’s attempt to vaccinate at-risk populations in certain zip codes is "unacceptable".

Earlier this week, Dallas County Commissioners prioritized 11 zip codes to get vaccines. Those areas house the most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and people of color.

County Judge Clay Jenkins convinced commissioners to reject the plan because the state said it excluded high-risk residents outside the zip codes.

“They’re okay with us prioritizing people of higher risk,” Jenkins told his commissioner colleagues in a Zoom meeting. “They’re okay with us prioritizing neighborhoods with high spread, but putting into a document that we’re going to do somebody first and then secondarily other people when we’re supposed to be a hub for any Texan who signs up is not ok with the state.”

Texas deems prioritizing by zip code unfair. It means high-risk residents outside those areas wouldn't get the same access. Dallas County still wants to reach vulnerable populations with its limited supply of vaccines from the state, so Commissioner Theresa Daniel suggested taking specific zip codes out of the plan, but retaining the concept of "disadvantaged communities."

“Then each local area can make that happen," Daniel said. "My whole point is let’s get the vaccine out.”

"That would be great," Jenkins said, adding he can sell that approach to the state.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.