Logistical problems at the Collin County COVID-19 vaccine site in Plano on Feb. 4 drew scrutiny from commissioners toward Curative, the county’s contracted partner to administer vaccines.
Commissioners spoke Feb. 5 with Curative representatives in a virtual emergency session to address a premature line cutoff made around 4:10 p.m. at Plano ISD's John Clark Stadium. The vaccine site was scheduled to be open until 5 p.m., and it is unclear how many people with appointments were turned away.
Curative Vice President of Marketing Miranda Gottlieb said contributing factors included traffic backup, dwindling daylight during which to administer vaccines and people appearing without appointments.
Gottleib said the Curative team is continually learning to better communicate with city and county officials since opening the mega-site last week. She also told commissioners her team is working overtime to create software improvements that should help with the signup process and prevent people without appointments from arriving early. Those updates, Gottlieb said, will be implemented Feb. 8.
“We feel confident that through software pushes and through some of the learning and consensus that we've gained in talking to county officials—that we can mitigate this from happening again,” Gottlieb said.
County Judge Chris Hill said he and his fellow commissioners first learned about the cutoff on social media. He said it is critical for his team to be informed directly and to be involved in any decisions to shut down operations.
“I want those decisions to be made by my team,” Hill said. “And, certainly, when your team has concerns, they need to reach out to us.”
Commissioner Susan Fletcher asked whether Curative is still able to deliver up to 6,000 doses per day, as previously was estimated. Gottlieb said the site is processing 1,500 to 2,000 vaccines a day but plans to work toward scaling up distribution to reach 6,000 doses a day.
The idea of potentially relocating to a more accommodating space in the county was floated.
Cristin Meehan, Curative director of vaccine distribution in Texas, said staff has been working to operate as efficiently as possible at John Clark Stadium. Infrastructure and abnormal layout at the stadium, however, have posed challenges. Ultimately, Curative representatives said they will continue to make ends meet at the current location in Plano, but a larger space would be preferable.
“If we need to look at different locations, we can definitely start doing that,” Meehan said. “We were just trying to work within the parameters as, you know, what the county was wanting us to do."
Operations at John Clark Stadium continued Feb. 5. Hill, who led the meeting remotely at the vaccine megasite, said operations appeared to be going much more smoothly than a day prior.
County Administrator Bill Bilyeu said those with appointments set after the line cutoff Feb. 4 are being rescheduled to receive their dose as soon as possible.
The vaccine hub uses names on the Collin County waitlist to schedule appointments. For more information and to sign up for the waitlist, visit the county's website.
Operational problems at Collin County vaccine site in Plano lead to premature cutoff
Logistical problems at the Collin County COVID-19 vaccine site in Plano led to a premature cutoff Feb. 4. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)