Editorial: Tarrant County vaccination rates are lagging in certain areas. Here’s how you can help.

Christy Bosch, Fort Worth resident and UTA alumna, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine March 29 at Esports Stadium Arlington and Expo Center.

As of April 9, Tarrant County reports 21% of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and many zip codes show vaccination rates higher than the county average, according to the Tarrant County COVID-19 vaccine tracker. But some zip codes, like 76010, still lag behind in vaccination rates.

Texas received over 2.5 million doses of the vaccine this week, according to Texas Health and Human Services. The Shorthorn editorial board encourages students to do what they can to help others sign up for and learn about the vaccine.

As of March 29, all adults age 16 and up are eligible to receive the vaccine in Texas. Since April 9, 842,523 total doses have been administered and 888,124 people have registered with the Tarrant County Public Health office to receive the vaccine, according to the Tarrant County COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

Tarrant County has implemented efforts to address the disparities, such as a new mobile vaccination program with the Arlington Fire Department and small-scale vaccination sites within underserved communities.

Despite these efforts, some residents have said a lack of information, availability and a distrust of the vaccine safety are responsible for vaccination rate discrepancies in certain zip codes, according to previous Shorthorn reporting. Health experts cite access to traditional health care centers, reluctance to see a doctor and preexisting inequalities as reasons behind vaccination rate disparities.

But as students, we know how to do the research to help others sign up for a vaccine. The Shorthorn editorial board encourages students to offer their help to older adults, people with disabilities and others who don’t know how to use or don’t have access to the internet. If you’re comfortable doing so, volunteer at vaccination distribution sites.

D Magazine reported Dallas’ Fair Park vaccine site coordinators sent a mass email looking for volunteers as it struggles to keep up with the demand for vaccinations. Individuals can register to volunteer here. You can also register to volunteer with the Tarrant County Medical Reserve Corps to assist during public health emergencies.

As of March 26, over 9,000 COVID-19 vaccines were wasted and over 2,000 of them spoiled, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Not a single dose should be wasted when there are so many people who still need and want to be vaccinated. We encourage students to help senior citizens, people with disabilities and those without the resources to access an email account sign up for the vaccine. Or to volunteer your time at a local vaccine distribution center.

People must sign up using an individual email address to register for the vaccine or call 817-248-6299 to have someone help with registration. Once successfully registered, you will receive an automatic email confirmation, as well as an identification number.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Katecey Harrell; Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Lenzen; associate news editor Spencer Brewer; Samantha Knowles, life and entertainment editor; sports editor Adrian Rodriguez; news reporter Thevnin Rumende; and copy editor Jill Bold. Rodriguez and Bold were not present for this editorial decision, and managing editor Angelica Perez and sports reporter Andrew Tineo filled in.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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