By Jason Allen

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley pushed for every resident over the age of 16 to begin signing up for vaccine doses, ahead of an anticipated surge in allocations.

Weekly vaccinations at seven major county sites have now surpassed registrations.

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More than 55,000 doses were distributed during the first week of March.

Public Health Director Vinny Taneja told County Commissioners Tuesday, March 9, everyone 75 years old or older who has signed up has received an appointment.

There were less than 4,000 people waiting now in the 65 and up category.

“We’re not just interested in 1a or 1b or teachers or child care workers,” Judge Whitley said. “We want everybody to register. Because I truly believe in the coming weeks we’re going to be inundated with vaccines.”

While appointments may not be available to all registrants immediately, they will be in line once the state opens more categories of recipients.

Judge Whitley said he would like to see more than 60% of county residents receive the vaccination.

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However, just 11% have received one dose so far.

The pace of registrations has been dropping for several weeks.

Commissioners received their first look Tuesday at a branding and marketing campaign from UNT Health Science Center to try to convince more residents to receive the vaccine.

County leaders also decided Tuesday to keep a mask requirement in place for all county buildings.

Tarrant rescinded its mask order for businesses last week, within minutes of Governor Greg Abbott announcing he would drop the order for the state.

However, services won’t be denied to people who come in without a mask.

Tax Assessor Wendy Burgess and Clerk Mary Louise Nicholson both indicated that currently their staff handles customers without masks as efficiently as possible, without making it an issue.

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Commissioner instructed county staff to continue with their current method of operating, with Judge Whitley saying they could revisit the matter if too many people decide to start coming in without masks.