Denton County Public Health has opened up its COVID-19 vaccine signups to those ages 16 and older, a move that came as the county had been nearing the end of its existing waitlist.

The county announced the decision March 23, the same day the Texas Department of State Health Services announced all adults would be eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine beginning March 29.

Of the 413,077 forms that had been submitted for Denton County’s waitlist as of March 22, the public health department had invited 404,438 to a vaccine appointment, leaving only a few thousand previously eligible signups who had yet to receive an invitation.

County Judge Andy Eads said eligible residents should sign up for the waitlist on the county’s website, if they have not already.

The waitlist had previously been open to people age 50 and older as well as those with chronic medical conditions and professionals in health care fields and schools. Now, all adults may sign up for the county's list, as well as teenagers who are at least 16 years old.

Not all of those who have been invited to a vaccine appointment have received a shot. Eads said county officials believe a number of people on the Denton County waitlist had already received their vaccines from other counties or other providers.

In total, the county's health department has administered 122,593 first doses and 51,779 second doses of the vaccines, according to its COVID-19 dashboard.

Matt Richardson, the county’s public health director, said the county had reached a point where about 1 in 5 invitees for first doses of the vaccine were no-shows. This meant the county was reserving space for people who are not actually available to receive the vaccine on the day of their appointment.

Those who are on the waitlist and were not able to make their first appointment are encouraged to call 940-349-2585 to set up a new one.

“There’s room, and we have capacity,” Richardson said. “We have open arms, and we have needles for yours.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the county's March 23 decision to open its waitlist to all adults.