Instead of a line of cars waiting to attend a football game, hundreds showed up to Homer B Johnson Stadium on Centerville Rd. in Garland on Thursday to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
“Our plan today is to put 1,000 doses in 1,000 arms," said Garland Mayor Scott LeMay
The city only received 1,000 doses of the Moderna Vaccine earlier this week and alerted those on the waitlist.
“That is how we're keeping the process equal and fair. We had 1,000 doses this week, we took the first thousand people who had registered, and they got the notification," explained LeMay.
The shots are still limited to those who are frontline workers, over the age of 65, or are 16 years and older and have certain chronic diseases.
People with designated time slots, drove up to the stadium and while under a tent received their first shot, then drove across the lot, parked, and sat in their car for at least 15 minutes as paramedics and first responders kept them in observation for any type of possible reaction.
"We're just staying a little extra longer to be safe," said Dan Russell, who received the vaccine with his wife. "I'm glad we got at least a thousand now we need 10,000 more."
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In a statement, the city said by the end of the day, 800 shots were given.
"Everyone who had an appointment for a vaccination today received their vaccine. We did have some no-shows; those individuals will be removed from our list and can re-register if they still need the vaccine. The next people on our registration list will be contacted to schedule those doses in a non-mass vaccination setting in the next few days," said the city in an email.
The mayor said they haven't received confirmation yet when they'll get their next shipment, which he admits is a frustrating part of the system.
He said once they know, they will notify the next in line on the waitlist, which has more than 18,000 people. Those who show up without an appointment will be turned away.
"We would love to be able to serve everyone as they showed up, but unfortunately due to the supply, we have to be very cautious and very organized or otherwise, you know, we've seen this with some of the other sites. If you start allowing walk-ups and non-appointments, it gets really chaotic, and this is not a time for chaos, you know this is a time for an orderly process to take care of a problem and move forward," said the mayor.
Those who showed up on Thursday complimented the smooth process.
"I've heard things from other centers, other hubs where things have not gone well, but this has gone extremely well," said Russell.
“The process was phenomenal. like I can't say [enough] how good the process was, I was worried about that process, very streamlined. Very easy, couldn’t have gone any better. They have this down to a science for sure," said Ryan Brooks who received the vaccine on Thursday.
Originally the site was set up for just Garland, Rowlett, and Sachse residents, but the site is now one of the official state hubs
According to officials, as required of hubs, the City of Garland has modified both the online and call center registration systems in order to accept all individuals.
The registration system was previously open only to Garland, Rowlett, and Sachse residents, officials said.
The city is encouraging residents to sign up on the Garland vaccine waitlist and the waitlist of other providers.
Anyone unable to complete the online form can call the city's COVID-19 hotline at 972-205-3900 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
Waitlist Links: Collin - Search Waitlist | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.