Tarrant County’s first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination sites have opened.
One of the sites is located at the Billingsley Field House near Farrington Field in Fort Worth, which officially opened on Friday. A spokesperson for Tarrant County Public Health said they expected the site to operate on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Michael Kelley of Fort Worth received his vaccine on Saturday afternoon and said the longest amount of time he had to wait was at the very end. People who receive their shots are asked to wait 15 minutes afterward in case they have any reactions.
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“This was as quick and as painless as it could possibly be,” Kelley said. “I am a public school teacher. I’m going to be around kids and trying to open schools back up. So, it was very important for me to make sure I’m safe, I’m personally safe, and I’m not going to spread anything to my students.”
Cindy Winfrey also received her first vaccine dose on Saturday at the Billingsley Field House location. Winfrey said she registered for a vaccine in early January.
“I was a little skeptical, I’m going to honest. I wasn’t sure, but I did a little research and decided, 'Go ahead, go through with it.' I’m glad I did now,” Winfrey said. “The process was so much easier than I thought it was going to be.”
Another drive-thru vaccination in Tarrant County opened on Saturday through a collaboration between Texas Christian University, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center –Fort Worth, and Tarrant County Public Health. The site is in the parking lots around TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said drive-thru vaccination sites are not only convenient but will help those who are on the county’s waitlist move up faster.
However, Whitley said a challenge they are facing is the number of people who sign up for a vaccine and then do not show up for their appointments.
“As much as people have said ‘We want to get our vaccines, we want to get our vaccines,' the challenge that we’re facing is we’re having a 40% to 50% no-show rate,” Whitley said. “I really want to encourage people, if you get an appointment, show up and don’t just decide ‘Well, the weather’s looking a little grim out there or I’m hearing positive news from around the country, so therefore maybe I’ll wait on getting my vaccine.'"
Whitley noted another possible reason behind the no-shows is the lack of a universal database to register.
“We had people registering at 15, 16 different places. It might be CVS, it might be Baylor Scott & White, it might be (Texas Health Resources). It might be all these different places, so when they finally get the vaccine from the many different places registered at… I’m not even sure our system allows them to go back and tell us ‘OK, we’ve been vaccinated, take us off the list,'” he said.
Appointments are required for both vaccination sites.