Arlington has opened a major coronavirus vaccination site after the White House's announcement that the city would be one of three large-scale vaccination centers for the state.
The site in Arlington will be located at Globe Life Field for the first four weeks before it moves to the AT&T Stadium. It is expected to provide an estimated 21,000 shots a week with a focus on people over the age of 65 and those with chronic health conditions.
A soft opening was held earlier in the week with military members available to help with logistics. On its first full day of operations Friday, Arlington mayor Jeff Williams said the site will speed up the process for those who are currently on Tarrant County's waiting list for a vaccine.
"We need all of our residents on board," Mayor Williams said. "Let me make something very abundantly clear. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, it’s easy, and it works."
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The effort is a partnership between the federal government, the City of Arlington, Tarrant County Public Health, the Arlington Fire Department, American Medical Response, the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys.
"This collaboration means that thousands more people in our community will be protected from the virus, further reducing the strain on our local hospitals and allowing for us to return to normalcy more quickly," Williams said.
During the first four weeks after opening, the site will be located at the Global Life Field. The location will change to the AT&T Stadium in March. Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson said the decision to move sites was due to scheduling.
"These are business operations, so they have calendars and schedules," Chief Crowson said. "We’re thankful they worked with us around their scheduling. We’re adaptable. The military’s adaptable."
Federal teams are spearheading the vaccination sites, with help from the U.S. Marines and Sailors from 1st Marine Logistics group, I Marine Expeditionary Force; and U.S. Army North, the Joint Force Land Component Command of U.S Northern Command.
Residents in the DFW metroplex who meet the current state priority vaccine eligibility requirements should register through the Tarrant County Public Health website. The vaccine is currently only being administered to those who are part of Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Those in Phase 1A are frontline health care workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over the age of 65 or those over the age of 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe illness.
Shirley Hodge of North Richland Hills registered for a vaccine in January and said she was surprised at how smoothly the site was running Friday.
"I didn’t think we’d get in to get our shot until 5 or 6 o’clock. I thought we’d be here all afternoon. When they brought us back, I was really surprised," Hodge said. "Glad to get it over with, and I’ll be glad to get the second one over with too."
FEMA stresses people need a reservation and can't just show up. FEMA is getting its names from those already signed up with the counties.
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:
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.