Coronavirus news

White House to open major COVID-19 vaccination site at Arlington's AT&T Stadium

White House to open major COVID-19 vaccination site at AT&T Stadium

AT&T Stadium
The federally supported mass vaccination site will be constructed at AT&T Stadium. Courtesy photo

A federally supported mass vaccination site will be constructed at Arlington's AT&T Stadium — one of three built in coordination with the state of Texas, the White House COVID-19 Response Team revealed February 10. Another is being planned for Dallas' Fair Park.

Under plans by the Biden administration, more than 10,000 shots are expected to be given at the Texas sites, with operation possibly beginning on the week of February 22. The other site planned in Texas is at NRG Stadium in Houston.

With the planned distribution points at AT&T and NRG stadiums, the White House is taking up the NFL on its offer to use the 30 league venues for super sites.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called the centers "welcome news," especially for the area's most vulnerable residents.

"These much-needed resources will help us reach some of our hardest-hit communities and ensure that more residents access the vaccine in a fair and equitable manner," he said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted preliminary information about the state partnering with FEMA to set up distribution points in DFW and Houston. According to Abbott, initial plans were to administer 5,000 to 6,000 additional vaccinations per day.

The sites would be in operation seven days a week for eight weeks. Abbott said two of the state's largest cities would get the first sites, with possible expansion to other locations.

Additionally, FEMA told CultureMap Houston news partner ABC13 that its aim is to launch a small number of pilot community vaccination centers using primarily federal staff to support state and local governments.

"The goal of establishing these joint federal pilot centers is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind," a FEMA official said.

While specifics of the distribution points were not immediately disclosed ahead of the February 10 briefing, the White House has moved into action to use larger venues to vaccinate as many people as possible, including taking up the NFL's offer to use stadiums.

With the NFL season over, President Biden wants to ramp up vaccine distribution across the country, and one way to do, he says, is through the use of NFL stadiums as vaccination sites. In the video, he is given a walk-through at one.

According WFAA Channel 8, officials used the CDC's Social Vulnerability Index as one of its main criteria to select the sites to launch the centers, focusing on getting access to the vaccine for vulnerable populations who have struggled with COVID-19.

“All of this is showing how closely local government, state government, and the federal government all work together to get something done," Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley told the Dallas TV station. "We're talking about probably 3,000 extra vaccines per day here at the Arlington site. And that's 21,000 a week that we weren't going to get."

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For more on this story, including full video of the briefing, visit our news partner ABC13.