Commissioners in their Feb. 8 meeting unanimously passed the measure as the total number registered continued to soar by the hundreds during the meeting. County Judge Chris Hill noted that with each refresh of the list on his computer during the meeting, the more than 271,000 total names on the waitlist continued to multiply.
Irregular amounts of vaccine doses received from the state each week make it impossible to keep up with the thousands of people requesting them, according to commissioners. For the week of Feb. 8, Collin County received 2,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine to distribute.
“To continue to put people on a list, knowing full well that we're not going to have adequate vaccine for the foreseeable future, I think is a bit of a disservice,” Commissioner Cheryl Williams said.
Hill noted the possibility of residents untruthfully answering queries on the waitlist website. This could possibly put residents ahead of those who actually qualify for the vaccine under phases 1A and 1B as well as future phases that are currently unknown, Hill said. Those currently eligible for the vaccine in Texas include health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, people age 65 and older, and people 16 and older who have certain underlying health conditions.
The court said the pause in signups also helps to ensure second doses of the vaccine, which are needed weeks after first doses to ensure stronger immunity to COVID-19. Commissioners voiced concern over guaranteeing residents their second dose.
Commissioners emphasized multiple times that the waitlist suspension is temporary while the county works through the overwhelming list.
“We know that there's a need. We know that there's a call for the service,” Hill said. “And so we'll continue to work with our state leaders to get more doses here—obviously, we're going to continue.”
Collin County Administrator Bill Bilyeu said the waitlist would be adjusted to indicate the pause but did not provide an anticipated length of time for that pause. No date was provided on when the pause might be lifted.
The county's website stated as of Feb. 6 it was scheduling appointments up to No. 46,385 on the waitlist.
"There's 270,000 people [on the waitlist], about 220,000 still above where we're working on the waitlist right now," Bilyeu said. "If you took that, you'd be talking a year and a half or two years to get to the bottom of that waitlist."