Fort Worth

COVID-19 Vaccination Site Held for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers

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A drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site aimed to serve cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers was held in Fort Worth on Tuesday.

The site, located in the parking lot of the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Fort Worth, was one of several events through a partnership between the center and Tarrant County Public Health. Dr. Alberto Parra, a hematology oncology physician for the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders, said the purpose is to safely vaccinate the community’s most vulnerable while minimizing their risk of exposure.

“In malignancy, we have treatments that we have to keep on schedule... chemotherapeutic, radiation, surgeries. COVID has really taken a toll in causing bumps, delays, two weeks, four weeks, sometimes even a couple months out depending on how severe COVID has affected our patients,” Dr. Parra said. “By getting vaccinated, this is one way to help take a little bit of the burden away from the patients and have a little a less problems throughout their already hectic treatment schedules.”

Crystal Onuoha of Grand Prairie received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine at the site on Tuesday. Onuoha was diagnosed with breast cancer last October.

“My chemo is being put on hold and I should be starting sometime this week because I’ve had some type of infection as the result of my initial surgery,” she said. “I just don’t need an additional complication, you know? Cancer is a big complication, and I do not want to get sick.”

She said initially, she was hesitant about getting vaccinated due to the novelty of the vaccines.

“One of the reasons why I decided to get the shot is, it just seems like this pandemic is not going away. Being that I am high risk, I just want to get as much protection as I can,” she said. “Overall, I feel good, you know? I don’t feel sick. I just try to remain positive and do what I can to empower myself to stay healthy.”

Parra said vaccine hesitancy among those battling cancer is not uncommon.

“I have had a couple of patients, actually more than a couple, that were just afraid to go out there because they didn’t want to expose themselves,” he said. “We do know that patients with active malignancy have a 30% increase in mortality if they were to get COVID-19 so that has really taken a toll with a number of patients.”

Two more vaccination events are scheduled this week at the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Fort Worth for those who received their first shots at the center.

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